Send in the clowns... and old photos

Roll up, roll up — one of Europe’s oldest circuses has appealed to the people of Ireland to help it celebrate its 125th birthday.

Fossett’s Circus, the country’s national circus, has urged people to root out old family photographs of their trips to the big top over the decades.

Ringmaster Marion Fossett, the keeper of the circus’s vast archive, would also like to see any old tickets, posters, or any memorabilia associated with Fossett’s Circus that may be squirrelled away in attics and shoeboxes around the country.

“We will mark our 125th anniversary next year and we’re still planning the celebrations,” said Charles O’Brien, the circus’s marketing manager.

“But old photographs and memorabilia will form part of it — either in book form, online, or an exhibition.

“People come up to us a couple of times a year to show us old photographs of their childhood visits to the circus. So we know they are out there and we encouraging people to go looking for them and bring them in to us. We would like to see what’s out there.”

Fossett’s claims to be the world’s oldest continually touring circus troupe — with an unbroken heritage dating back to the 1880s.

“There are other circuses around Europe that are older than us, but they took a break from touring for the world wars. We are the world’s oldest continually touring circus,” said Mr O’Brien.

The company is owned by Edward and Robert Fossett, and employs 45 people at peak season.

Mr O’Brien encouraged anybody with old photos of their trips to Fossett’s to visit the big top, which is at Mahon Point in Cork until Sunday, and performing in Midleton, Bandon, and Fermoy over the coming weeks, and ask for Marion.

They will be copied and returned to the owners. You can email them to


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