Balmoral Show 2024: Travel details and what to expect at Eikon Center as the show gets underway

Participants are excited now that the poultry section is returning and bird flu restrictions have been lifted this year

High levels of bird flu in Britain have prevented the poultry department at Northern Ireland’s largest agricultural show from fully functioning in recent years – but it is now back at full capacity.

Poultry farmers like Mark Cairns are excited and looking forward to seeing their chickens competing all week long.

He said: “Due to bird flu in the past, we were only allowed to admit one person, just because of illness and contamination. But because the bird flu (levels) are OK this year, everyone can bring their own birds and poultry.”

Birds and poultry return for the first full show in four years at Balmoral Show. Photo: Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph

Mark will be at the show with his fiancée and their Silver Laced Wyandotte chickens, and hopes the birds will perform well in their category.

He says: “I have had chickens with my fiancé Judith for three years now. I have always wanted to start showing and I really enjoy having birds.

“The judge will look for areas of black around the edge of their feathers, how clean they are and the color of their legs.” Mark said poultry farmers from all over the island of Ireland came to the show this year.

He added: “We’ve had a lot of new people come, we’ve got people coming from as far away as Letterkenny, so it’s great for everyone to get into it again this year.”

The Balmoral Show is open to the public from today until Saturday 18 May.

Watch: Balmoral show returns for 2024

This year marks the 155th annual show and organizer Rhonda Geary said she is excited to welcome the public to the four-day event.

“Everything is getting ready and we will be ready for an early morning start tomorrow,” she said.

Rhonda said the farming community across Northern Ireland is excited about the show: “It’s a really important agricultural event – ​​it’s the biggest agri-food event in the Northern Ireland calendar. It’s really important for the producers, the exhibitors and the businesses that are here – we also have over 600 food stalls that want to do business here this week.”

Rhonda Geary, group director at the Balmoral Show. Photo: Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph

Rhonda expects many visitors to the Eikon Center this year and promises that the show will have something to offer for everyone.

She said: “We have a bigger show than ever this year with over 4,000 entries across the livestock and trade stands, lots of new attractions, our sustainability village, the new children’s section with the Glenarm off-road driver and a climbing paradise. wall.”

Rhonda said that due to the large number of animals competing this year, they even created new categories: “We have new classes in the equine division and the cattle and sheep.”

Rhonda said there will also be more food and drinks for visitors to enjoy at the food pavilion this year.

“There are over 100 trade stands there, where you can sample the food and drink and watch the cooking demonstrations – so there really is something for everyone at the Balmoral Show.”

How to get to the Balmoral Show 2024?

Visitors are asked to allow sufficient time for their travel and, as with any major event, be prepared for possible delays. Those wishing to attend the meeting should consider using public transportation if possible.

Also try to avoid arriving or departing during the morning or evening rush hour when traffic elsewhere is at its peak.

Routes to the show

Visitors arriving from the west should take the M1 motorway and depart at Junction 8 (Blaris), where they are asked to travel via the A101 and A1 Hillsborough Road, Sprucefield Roundabout and Blaris Road

· Traffic from the North West should travel via the A26, Moira Roundabout and then the A3 Moira Road towards Lisburn, to reach the show via Halftown Road

· Lisburn Traffic takes the Moira Road from Lisburn and reaches the show via Halftown Road

· Those traveling from Belfast and the North East should head south on the M1 motorway, exiting the motorway at Junction 7 (Sprucefield), and follow signs for A1 Lisburn, reaching the show via Blaris Road.

· Traffic from the south should use the A1 dual carriageway and access the show via Harrys Road, the first left turn after the Hillsborough roundabout

There will be extensive signage near the show entrances. Follow this and the PSNI’s directions.

Public transport options

Free shuttle bus: There is a free shuttle bus from Lisburn Train Station to the Eikon Exhibition Centre. The estimated travel time is approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

Rail: Great Victoria Street Station is closed, so visitors departing from Belfast must use alternative stations such as Lanyon Place, Botanic, City Hospital or York Street. Selected Enterprise services will also make an additional stop at Lisburn train station.

Weather forecast

The weather around the show is expected to be largely dry with some sunny spells and high temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius. There may be a few scattered showers on Thursday and Friday, but overall the outlook is promising.