It was a night of new beginnings and thoughts of those closely associated with the land, but no longer living - during last week’s launch of the 79th County Longford Ploughing Association’s Ploughing Championships which was held at the Park House Hotel in Edgeworthstown.
This year’s event takes place on April 14 next on the lands of the Reynolds Family, a name synonymous with Longford ploughing since its inception way back in 1934. The Championships will attract thousands of people from all over Ireland and is sponsored this year, by Green Farm Foods, which employs 147 people, locally. The launch night was steeped in history as it was presided over by LPA’s first ever chairwoman, Cynthia Geelan.
Addressing the large crowd that gathered, County Mayor Sean Farrell paid tribute to LPA and he remembered fondly some of those who had been deeply involved down through the years.
“This is also an opportunity to remember people associated with the ploughing who are no longer here and in particular the great Joe Farrell of Lisnacussa or ‘Ned’s Joe’ as he was fondly known,” the Mayor said. “As a son of the soil myself, the ploughing championships signifies the importance of agriculture in Co Longford.”
Town Mayor, Cllr Peggy Nolan then spoke about the unity of urban and rural that was brought about by the County Longford Ploughing Championships. “I commend the LPA for having the foresight to reach into the agricultural divide between urban and rural - this county would not be what it is without what ye have and yer love and affinity of the land,” she said. “Don’t let go and don’t ever give up, because it is ye who are the protectors of the land.”
The Longford Rose Emily Hughes was also on hand to offer her support, as was Deputy James Bannon TD and Ulster/North Leinster Vice Chairman John Watters. “LPA has stood the test of time and this is a special year as it is the year of The Gathering,” Deputy Bannon added. “The Championships will provide us with an opportunity to welcome people to the county from all over Ireland, and indeed the world and I wish LPA the very best of luck.”
Hugh Quinn, Edgeworthstown Traders’ Association and Oliver Durkin, Green Farm Foods then spoke from the floor. “For the small investment that we have put into this, it has already been well spent,” said Mr Durkin. “Best of luck to everyone involved and I am looking forward to the day.”
Concluding the new chairwoman, Ms Geelan thanked everyone for attending the historic event and pointed out that the next ploughing meeting will be held in the Goldsmith Inn on Monday night, April 9 next.