Circus Hoffman is German owned and British based and they have brought one of their two big tops to Ireland for the Christmas season.
This competition has not gone down well with home based circuses. However objections faded when it became clear that Circus Hoffman only plans to be in Ireland for the Christmas season and has no intention of encroaching on the summer season.
Ringmaster Chris Barltrop describes the complicated routine involved when they take the circus down to move on to their next destination. The lengthy process begins at 7am and the dismantling is carried out even when the last show is under-way.
When the audience come out at the end of the show they find suddenly half the things gone, it’s disappeared and that’s to save us time.
Circus Hoffman boasts elephants, lions, ponies, dogs and tigers and a host of acts from different counties around the world including England, Morocco and Sweden. Chris Barltrop says,
Circus people are circus people primarily and belong to their country second. They belong to the circus and I think that’s the nice thing about it, that’s what attracts me to it.
An RTÉ News report by Andrew Kelly first broadcast on 7 January 1981.