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The May Fair – traditionally one of the half yearly ‘Hiring Fairs’ in Castlewellan – is certain to attract a large crowd of bargain hunters and sightseers to the town next Thursday. Castlewellan’s May Fair was traditionally an occasion when young men and women ‘hired out’ for the six-month period to the more prosperous farmers in the area. Once the young man or girl was hired and the contract made, they had to complete the half-year before they received any wages, which were usually very low. There are many stories of long hours and harsh treatment of the people they hired, but in such cases the farmer’s reputation soon spread, and he had difficulty in finding good workers. On the other hand, many farm houses had a good reputation.


{Source: Mourne Observer  24/04/1980, p.5}