AAPGAI at Irish International Fly Fair
An article written by Clive Mitchelhill (AAPGAI Membership Secretary)
AAPGAI has been represented at the IIFF since 2008 and this year was no exception.
Fly Fair Entrance
Since its inception in 2007 the Irish International Fly Fair has evolved into a great institution that brings people together from all around the world and also strengthens the community spirit within the village of Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland where the event is held. If you have ever attended this event you will certainly perceive this strong bond from the very outset.
The fly fair is held within the grounds of Killyleagh castle, a formidable venue which is kindly offered up to the Dibney River Conservation Trust, (who instigated the fly fair) for the duration of the event, by its owner and staunch supporter of the Trust for many years, Gawn Rowan Hamilton. Gawn always makes you feel very welcome and is most definitely a hands on pillar of the community; we would therefore like to thank him once again for his hospitality towards the AAPGAI contingent and for accommodating our instructors within the castle grounds.
The fly fair is host to many fly dressers; several trade stands and plenty of casting instructors. It offers a great opportunity for AAPGAI instructors to work closely with fellow instructors from APGAI Ireland, many of whom are also members of AAPGAI. However it is not just a fly fair, it is also a place for good friends to get together and enjoy one another’s company.
This year’s event was a little unique, with the opportunity for those who were prepared to arrive a day early to attend some very interesting workshops regarding The Role & Formation of River Trusts in Ireland. Chairing the workshops was Dr Ken Whelan (also an AAPGAI instructor) in his role as Director of Research for the Atlantic Salmon Trust.
AAPGAI at the workshops
The workshops offered up some very prominent speakers throughout the day, and Ken also very kindly managed to find a slot for a small group of AAPGAI instructors to address the Trusts with regard to their work with Borderlines, a not for profit organisation that introduces people from all backgrounds to angling and the Environment, and at this moment in time have introduced around 16,000 youngsters to this arena. This also gave our association the opportunity to showcase another string to our bow. Excellent!
The weather for the fly fair itself stayed relatively fine over the weekend, although very windy at times, but this didn’t deter any of the guys getting out there with the fly rods and doing a spot of teaching, in fact if anything it made them even more determined to do so. However, regardless of whether you were inside or outside, the Craic, as they say in Ireland, was very entertaining.
Speaking of entertaining, the speeches at the conclusion of the fly fair were just that, and some very special presentations were made, including an honorary certificate presented to Dr Ken Whelan by AAPGAI for all his exceptional work in the piscatorial world, not to mention all his voluntary work too. “Well Done Ken”.
Finally, it wouldn’t be the Irish International Fly Fair if we didn’t mention Dibney the Rooster, fast becoming a very well known Cockerel (stuffed of course) that is presented to: “the fly tyer of the show”. This year the prize went to Long Nguyen from Norway.
Dibney the Rooster
So as you can see; a fantastic event and a great opportunity for AAPGAI to work with many local and international colleagues. We look forward to attending the Fly Fair again next year and would like to thank everyone involved for all their hard work which makes this event possible.
Workshop: The Role & Formation of River Trusts in Ireland
Date: Friday, 1st July 2016
Location: Killyleagh Community Centre, Killyleagh, Co Down,
Feedback at the Irish International Fly Fair, in July 2015, clearly showed that many of those involved in the formation of River Trusts or other river/ stream conservation initiatives were encountering difficulties in forming appropriate conservation groups to protect our river and stream corridors. Such difficulties related to the legislative framework North and South and in defining the role and function of their Trusts, so that they fitted in seamlessly with the complicated patchwork of fisheries bodies, conservation bodies, angling clubs and angling federations in Ireland. In response, the AST and the Dibney River Conservation Trust decided to jointly host a comprehensive one day event this year to bring together the existing Trusts in Ireland, or those planning on forming Trusts, to share experiences and advice. With our partners, we set about organising such a workshop and were surprised and indeed delighted, by the level of interest in the initiative when it was first announced on social media earlier this year!
On Friday 1st July well over 60 participants gathered in the Bridge Community Centre Killyleagh, Co Down, to participate in the workshop and to hear from a wide range of speakers on all aspects of Trust formation both in the UK and in Ireland. Presentations also covered other river conservation models. Participants were given a thorough overview of the potential support services and funding currently available throughout Ireland.
The meeting was delighted to learn that Mark Horton of the Rivers Trust / Ballinderry Trust is currently employed in the Republic of Ireland to work directly with groups interested in forming Trusts. Bernie O Flaherty and her colleague Sheevaun Thompson, outlined in some detail how the newly formed body LAWCO (Local Authority Water and Communities Office) is working closely with Mark to ensure that a broad range of practical advice and seed funding is made available to interested parties.
Arlin Rickard, CEO of the Rivers Trust gave a most comprehensive overview of the work of the Trust movement, not alone in the UK but also in other parts of the world. Arlin offered, both directly and through Mark Horton, to provide any support or advice fledgling Trusts might require. He also encouraged all of those interested in forming River Trusts or similar bodies to visit the Rivers Trust website (http://www.theriverstrust.org/), where a wealth of detailed advice is available. Trusts such as the Dibney Trust and the River Blackwater Catchment Trust (a cross border initiative) gave compelling presentations on the positives and some of the frustrations associated with organising and running Trusts in Ireland. Fran Igoe, formerly of IRD Duhallow and now with LAWCO, gave advice on how EU Leader funding can be used to support Integrated Rural Development Groups to achieve objectives similar to those of River Trusts.
Linked to this short summary report is: a full list of key contacts associated with the workshop; contact details for the speakers and pdf copies of the presentations made by our guests at the meeting.
Please note if you are interested in forming a River Trust in Ireland, your principal initial contact is:
The Rivers Trust
Ballinderry Rivers Trust
231a Orritor Road,
BT80 9NB, Northern Ireland
Tel: +442886761515 (from R.O.I – 04886761515)
Mobile: +447572 287509
Finally the AST and the Dibney Conservation Trust would like to thank: the members of the Workshop Steering Committee, who have so willingly gave of their time in organising the event and our generous sponsors - LAWCO and the Rivers Trust. Finally we would like to thank the community of Kilylleagh who made us feel so welcome during our short visit to their beautiful village.
The Role & Formation of River Trusts in Ireland
Honorary Membership Certificates
Well done to all who took part.
Holding certificate Tommy Brown being presented with Certificate bestowing honorary membership of Dibney River Trust & Irish international Fly Fair for his hard work since the start of the fair 9 years ago.
Holding certificate Robbie Atkinson being presented with Certificate bestowing honorary membership of Dibney River Trust & Irish international Fly Fair for his hard work since the start of the fair 9 years ago.
Both guys also were presented with a unique Fly Brooch "the Dibney" tied for the occasion by Gary Bell.
Tyer of the Show 2016
Well done to all who took part.
Long Nguyen from Norway overall winner of tyer of the show, being presented with perpetual prize "Dibney" the rooster sponsored by Bronte Hackle.
1st Runner up. L _ R... Glyn Freeman [judge] Derek Martin [Chairman DRCT/IIFF] Jamie McMullan [from NI]
2nd Runner up. L _ R... Glyn Freeman [judge] Derek Martin [Chairman DRCT/IIFF] Marian Schultz [Germany]
The committee of the Dibney River Conservation Trust wishes to thank all those who continue to contribute to the ongoing success of the The Irish International Fly Fair.
From the AAPGAI instructors of both England and Ireland, to those tyers from close and afar - the Trust will always be in your debt for the support you have provided.
For those visitors to the Fair, we hope you enjoyed your weekend and to those in Killyleagh, thank you for providing such a warm welcome.
Many warm memories and lasting friendships will have been made over the weekend.
The aim was not only to raise money for the ongoing conservation of the Dibney, but to bring more people to our great wee town. We are happy to say that we managed to achieve that too. Almost all the tourist beds in and around Killyleagh were taken up - not only local holiday lets, but local caravan sites too.
Our thanks, also to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, whose support is essential to the ongoing success of the Irish International Fly Fair. As in previous years, our local politicians, not being too familiar with our event, were surprised how international it most definitely is. Where else would you find like-minded people from the USA, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland North and South celebrating the art of fly fishing. And what a spread of ages - from attendees as young as seven learning to tie flies from experts in their 80's. With the backdrop of Killyleagh Castle setting off the 2016 show, there cannot be a more perfect venue for a weekend of a high quality teaching, demonstration and learning.
Not surprisingly we are all looking forward to the Irish International Fly Fair 1st & 2nd July 2017, put this date in your diary and we will see you back in Killyleagh then.
New Spawning and Nursery Beds on the Dibney
The newly created “ Spawning and Nursery Beds on the Dibney are what all your contributions have been in aid of, whether in kind or indeed monetary: -
This much needed improvement to the environment and habitat of the Dibney has been put in place so as to increase numbers of the native brown trout and increase the number of trout leaving the river and entering Strangford Lough and hopefully vastly increasing the spawning of subsequent sea trout entering this small costal stream. We sincerely hope our efforts will be seen as a template for the other coastal streams around Strangford Lough to develop their waters so as to produce more native trout and negate the need for any sort of “fish farm” on or near our unique lough and river system
The Dibney River Conservation Trust wishes to thank all who assisted in any way from Government Departments, Down Council, Local Councillors, MLA’s , the Fly Tyers and Casting Instructors, the businesses in Killyleagh and Holywood and especially all the people from far and near who visited our Fly Fair[s] over the past years and all who made donations, all of these organisations and individuals have made this possible