Just what are the National Ploughing Championships?
So, what’s the craic with the National Ploughing Championships?
It’s a ploughing championships and it’s national!
Grand, I’m not much of a farmer; I wouldn’t know a cow’s tit from an udder, would it be pointless me going to it?
Nah man there is a loads of stuff for the non-farmer to have a look at. Tented trade village, a food fair, craft village, livestock, forestry, education, lifestyle, financial services, bio-energy plus loads more.
Nope, along with this there is live entertainment and special events taking place: fashion shows, sheep dog trials, loy digging, All-Ireland lamb shearing, most appropriately dressed lady & gent competitions, craft demonstrations and celebrity cookery demonstrations for example. Frankly, we were sold when we heard of the All-Ireland lamb shearing. If that fails to impress you there’s beer and some pretty dacent food.
Do many people go?
Sure do, the yearly championships usually attracts in excess of 1,100 exhibitors and up to 190,000 visitors.
How the hell did the whole thing start?
It may sound like a plot line to a John B. Keane play but the first ever inter-county ploughing contest took place in 1931 as a result of an argument between two lifelong friends, Denis Allen of Gorey, and JJ Bergin of Athy. Each argued that their respective counties had the best ploughmen (they were probably hammered at the time) so a challenge was laid down, we don’t know who won but there’s been a national ploughing championship every year since.
It’s one of the country’s most lucrative trade exhibitions, a lot of business gets done and several millions are generated for the economy. The venue for the championships moves every year or so, and it’s a big deal for a town to hold them. This year it’s the yellow bellies turn as it’s on in New Ross in Co. Wexford
There’s been a ploughing championship every year since 1931 except for 2001 when it was cancelled because of the foot and mouth outbreak.
One last thing, what in name of God is loy digging?
A loy is an old fashioned spade that people dig with, it’s kind of cool. Anyways, you can find out more about all things ploughing championship here