Circus Hoffman returns to Ireland bigger than ever but the Irish circus world is not pleased to see them.
Operating from Lincolnshire in England, Circus Hoffman is no stranger to Irish shores, having previously visited on two occasions. The circus is touring Ireland again, but this time they have gone for a new approach. Rather than opting for a bigger tent with one ring, they have decided to go for American style of circus, with three rings and more than one act performing at the same time. This American three ring circus is the first of its kind in Ireland.
However ringmaster Chris Barltrop says relationships with Irish circuses are not good.
We are not on good terms with them because they don’t approve of us coming here. They are trying as many avenues as they can to try and get us stopped from coming here.
Chris Barltrop believes healthy competition can only be of benefit to Irish circus.
One hundred and forty people are required to work through the night to take down the big top and move it from Waterford to Cork, the next port of call on the tour. Circus Hoffman costs several thousand pounds a week to run and a lot of paying customers are required to turn a profit. Nevertheless circus people are completely committed to their way of life.
They do it because it’s their way of life, this isn't just a job, it’s a way of life.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 February 1983. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.