“We made history and it will probably never happen again,” laughed a circus director after the end of the final show, staged when three of Ireland’s oldest families came together for the first time.
embers of Duffys and Fossetts instantly offered their help to the popular Circus Gerbola to ensure a hugely successful return to the Big Top with sell-out shows on the grounds of Slane Castle in Co Meath.
Covid-19 restrictions have left the Circus families with staff problems as many performers can’t get visas to come from non-European countries.
Circus Gerbola was one of the recipients of the Live Performance Support Scheme.
They held a two-week circus and traditional funfair as well as an exhibition of old circus memorabilia in the grounds of Slane Castle.
Ahead of the shows, they discovered that some of their equipment had weathered in the open air during the Covid-19 restrictions and was not fit for use, so David Duffy of Duffy’s Circus helped out by lending his own equipment.
Circus Gerbola received huge feedback and top reviews for the shows which included Tom and James Duffy in the Wheel of Death and Edward Fossett Jnr who played the part of Otto the clown alongside Mikey Gerbola. However, Tara Gerbola said that “with sadness” they will now return to their farm outside Navan until next February when they hope to finally be able to tour normally.
“We made history and it will probably never happen again as we all return to our own schedules,” she said.
“The three families working together was a vision of my husband Mikey and he made it work on the same site where international music acts held concerts at Slane castle
“In our circus worlds, this collaboration is unheard of as we each have our own style in the Big Top but it worked marvellously well and it was a huge pleasure for all of us.
“Now though, it is with sadness that we will have to return to Ardbraccan and not open again until February and Duffy’s circus now open up in Mullingar, Drogheda and Cavan in the coming weeks.
“The Slane shows were amazing. People travelled up from all over the country and the feedback was excellent.
“We put so much into it in such a short space of time.
“We probably only had two months to get it ready after we received the grant, which we had to appeal to get. Unfortunately, the circus is still hugely underfunded and under-supported.
“Very few of us had been working in 18 months so we were nervous but on the night, adrenaline kicked in
“Not a lot unnerves or frightens me but it was very testy, I have to say. Working in a different environment with Covid restrictions added to that.
“It took a pandemic to bring all three families together and thankfully, it was a roaring success but with different schedules, it will probably be a long time before it happens again, if ever.
“We would love to say a huge thank you to the Duffys and the Fossetts and the terrific audiences who came out to support us”.