The Great Exhibition
Inspired by the Great Exhibition of London in 1851, the Merchant Princes of Cork aimed to recreate something similar in Cork in 1852 in order to stimulate trade and commerce in the aftermath of the famine.
The event was hugely successful with an attendance of over 130,000 people.
This was followed by three subsequent events in 1883, 1902 and 1903. These were similarly designed to showcase local crafts and industry, stimulate employment and draw in foreign investment. Doesn’t sound too dissimilar to today’s story!
More info on WIKIpedia