“I was originally known as Mauney Murphy and was reared on a mixed farm with an apple orchard in Co Tipperary.

Agricultural shows have been a long tradition in the Murphy household with both my parents and grandparents competing in the shows each year.

My mother had a particular interest in gardening and flowers and would religiously enter in the flower arranging classes. I accompanied her to every show and instantly grew a love for horticulture and shows, which later developed into my career.

After my Leaving Cert I went straight to college and without hesitation decided to study horticulture for four years. After my studies I decided I needed to put my teachings into practice, which led to me starting my own dried flower business.

My business revolved around growing my own flowers and drying them for decorative work, which developed into a popular business at the time, especially for weddings.

When I married and moved to Kilkenny, I started to teach flower arranging classes in Kildalton College. People seemed to really enjoy the classes, with much of the work revolving around making sculptures out of fruit and vegetables.

Mauney Doyle of Iverk Agricultural Show.

I often tell people I have never worked a day in my life as for me, my business and work was my hobby and even somewhat therapeutic. Even today I am still overwhelmed by the support I received, not only from the local people, but by the shows as well.

Flower arranging at Iverk Show

I remember I attended a show final around seven years ago for flower arranging in Kildaton College. The show was spectacular at the time with beautiful plates and baskets of vegetables everywhere on display.

It was after the show it occurred to me that there was no flower arranging on display in Iverk Show. We had almost everything in the show, from beautiful displays of apples and vegetables and much more, but never flower display classes.

With that in mind, my friend Mary and I decided to start our own flower arranging section as part of the Iverk Show. The class remains a huge hit in the area with flower clubs around Waterford, Kilkenny, and Tipperary all taking part in the show.

Favourite memories

My favourite thing about the show is the camaraderie and working with the people on the committee. They’re like a big family to be honest and everyone makes sure to help each other coming up to the big day.

Even when my kids were growing up, we would have been heavily involved in Iverk Show. I would have worked on the crafts and my husband did judging and entered classes in wood-turning.

The show has been such a big part of my life and my family life too. It really highlighted to me how local shows can have such a positive impact on everyone in their area.

Young people

We have a large committee with a high number of youth volunteers. We are very lucky being so close to Kildalton College. A high number of young people studying at the college would come to help in the show. Even my children would have helped by preparing the showgrounds or making brochures in the days leading up to the show.

We can always rely on the young people to arrive with a shovel, or a plastic bag or high vis in hand to help on the day. It’s great to see the interest is living on even with the younger generation.

Behind the scenes

There is a huge amount of work that goes on all year round. The minute one show ends, the next begins, with meetings starting each month to prepare for the show.

We have lots of different arrangements including, “how does your garden grow?”, “keep it simple” (arrangement with three flowers), cake decorations and this year “textured door wreaths for any occasion”.

Mauney Doyle showing an article written by the Irish Farmers Journal on her dried flower arrangement business in September 1976.

We are unique in Iverk Show as we own our show field and next year we’re planning on building meeting rooms and offices on the site. The show seems to only be getting bigger every year with the committee constantly finding new ways to evolve the show. The show has invested in ATMs on the showgrounds and electronic payments on site.

Iverk Show

Iverk Show is Ireland’s oldest agricultural show, founded in 1826, with this year marking its 196th year.

The show was founded by Lord Bessborough as a means of educating people in the area on the latest practices and technology in agriculture and horticulture.

Iverk Show has over €100,000 in prize money this year, with 300 trade stands on offer including food markets and small industries section.

This year, we have six all-Ireland finals in various sections of the show including cattle, sheep, dogs, poultry, fruit, arts, crafts, baking and much more. CL

Iverk Show will take place on Saturday 27 August. www.iverkshow.com

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