One evening in or around 1870, a young man named George Lowe decided to do what many young men had done before (and have done since). He ran away to join the circus!
George was a member of a well-known family from Fair Street, Mallow – well respected and industrious. He was, however, at heart a Showman. He and his fiancée eloped and decided to leave Mallow and throw their lot in with this travelling group.


Little is known about the particular troupe except that sometime in 1878/80 George and his wife left Ireland to seek their fortune in America.
At the same time, a hard-bitten frontiersman called William Cody was considering a change of career. Having fought Indians, mined for gold, driven cattle and chased down bandits and outlaws he changed his name to “Buffalo Bill” Cody and took a spectacular horse show on the road.


Young George Lowe from Mallow joined this Wild West Show sometime in 1884/5.
By this time he was known as The Amazing Doctor Powell presenting Magic, Juggling and Horse skills. He became a valued member of the troupe and was selected to join Buffalo Bill on his much-heralded first tour of Europe. In 1887 George and the company arrived in London where they went into rehearsal for their opening production to be attended by Queen Victoria as part of her Golden Jubilee. George/Dr. Powell took the opportunity to make a quick visit home to Mallow. He never went back.


In March 1888 The Amazing Doctor Powell set out on a tour of his native Ireland with his own circus. He and his troupe presented the skills, feats, tricks and spectacle that he had learned during his years working with other shows. This show, visiting the traditional fairgreens and marketplaces throughout Ireland during that summer all those years ago, is the origin of Fossett’s – Ireland’s National Circus.


In fact, in 1890 Robert Fossett was judged best bareback rider in the world. His grandfather, also Robert Fossett, was the founder of the family circus in 1852. Edward upon meeting Mona Powell (daughter of Dr. Powell), who at this time was also a noted equestrienne, fell immediately in love. With their mutual love of horses and circus, they were an instant match and were married in 1922.


In 1918 an accomplished bareback rider joined the show, which was then touring as Powell and Clarke’s. His name was Edward Fossett. He was the youngest son of Sir Robert Fossett 2nd and circus proprietor Mary Francis, a Wexford woman; both were renowned equestrian riders.


By 1927 it was called Edward Fossett and sons.


In the 1930’s they toured successfully for a number of years as Heckenberg’s Berlin Tower Circus.


By 1940 it was again Edward Fossett and Sons. Mona Fossett Powell died young on the 7th June 1946 aged only 41 and Edward passed away five years later on Sep 7th 1951 aged 53. It made Bobby, Teddy and Johnny the youngest circus proprietors in the world as they took over the running of the show and they were only in their 20’s.


For the 1952 season, the first without their father, the name was changed to Fossett’s Circus. 1952 was also an important year for Teddy as history repeated itself when a young circus artiste came as top of the bill, her name Herta Bhorsky, part of the three Lordini Perch Act. It was love at first sight and they married in 1953.

Teddy & Herta’s Children, Edward, Robert, Marion, Angela, and Mona. Marion continues to tour with the show and is Ireland’s most famous Ringmistress. Angela is married to Europe’s greatest clown Fumagalli. Mona is married in France to Alain Santus. Their mother, Herta, still tours with the circus and plays an important part in the day-to-day running of the show.


In the 1960’s the show became Fossett Bros Circus which is still the company name to this day. The circus is now known world wide as Fossett’s, Ireland’s National Circus.


Fossett’s continue to innovate and expand and in December 2006 held Ireland’s first ever Christmas Circus in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). This was another signal of the heightened cultural position with which circus and in particular Fossett’s now hold in Irish society. Our Annual Christmas Circus still features as a family festive fun favourite each Christmas in Dublin and this year will be no exception in Tallaght Stadium.


Further to this in July 2007 Fossett’s, as the National Circus were extended a presidential invite to perform for President Mary McAleese at her annual garden parties.