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Limerick's Pig and Cattle Market: A Tale of Supply and Demand |

Limerick’s Pig and Cattle Market: A Tale of Supply and Demand

The bustling market town of Newcastle West recently played host to its traditional fair, a spectacle that draws buyers and sellers from far and wide. However, this year, the usual fervour was tempered by a noticeable shift in the dynamics of supply and demand, particularly in the realm of pigs and cattle.

The day prior had witnessed the renowned pig fair, an event eagerly anticipated by both farmers and traders alike. Yet, despite the customary flurry of activity, there lingered a palpable decrease in supply. The relentless stream of pigs making their way to buyers in Limerick and Tralee throughout the year had taken its toll, leaving the pens less crowded than usual. Prices reflected this scarcity, with bacon pigs of suitable size fetching around 67 shillings per hundredweight, while heavier specimens commanded rates ranging from 60 to 63 shillings. Sows, too, were in short supply, with prices ranging from £6 to £8.

Meanwhile, the cattle market, true to form, maintained its standard volume of supply. Old, well-conditioned beasts garnered a keen demand, driving prices to heights previously unseen. Even those of inferior quality found eager buyers, fetching prices that surpassed expectations. Springers were a rare find, with prices ranging from £15 to £20, while milchers commanded similar figures. Younger stock also enjoyed strong demand, with three-year-old heifers and bullocks fetching £15 to £16, and two-year-olds commanding prices between £9 and £12.

Horses, though few in number, proved to be the surprise of the day. Despite their scarcity, they fetched prices that defied market norms, leaving both buyers and sellers pleasantly surprised.

As the day unfolded, it became evident that the ebb and flow of supply and demand had woven a complex tapestry, shaping the fortunes of both buyers and sellers. The pig market, influenced by consistent demand from urban centres, grappled with a dwindling supply, while the cattle trade thrived on a combination of ample stock and eager buyers. And amidst it all, the horse market emerged as an unexpected highlight, demonstrating resilience in the face of scarcity.

In the end, Newcastle West’s fair served as a microcosm of the broader agricultural economy, where the delicate dance of supply and demand dictates the fortunes of all involved. And as buyers and sellers dispersed, carrying with them the echoes of spirited negotiations and successful transactions, one couldn’t help but marvel at the timeless dynamics at play in Limerick’s pig and cattle market.

Freeman’s Journal – Friday 05 February 1915

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