A ploughman by any other name in Co Longford

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

The Ploughman and the Stars

Eamon Egan with Murph and Gerry.

This year renowned ploughman Eamon Egan and the County Longford Ploughing Association celebrated their 84th birth

It’s no coincidence that they share a special occasion because not only is Eamon synonymous with ploughing in this county, he has been instrumental in keeping the tradition alive and well in Longford.


Eamon is a former chairman of County Longford Ploughing Association and current Secretary of the Loy Association of Ireland.


He went to his first ploughing match in in 1957.


As he says himself, he didn’t fair out too good, but he was there to get the experience and improve his skills as much as he could.


It paid off and in the Spring of 1959, he ploughed at a match in Bunlahy and won his class thus elevating him to senior level.


He was delighted.


“I qualified as a senior ploughman that day; I beat John Reilly who was a senior ploughman in the county at the time and who worked closely with people like Eugene McGirr and all those greats!”


Eamon qualified for the All-Ireland Ploughing Championships that year and he has been going every year since.
That was 1959.


In 1960 the County Longford ploughing championships were held in Kenagh and that was a special day for Eamon Egan and his family.
“That year we introduced the Farmerette Class, and now 50 years on it is still as strong as ever,” he added, although he also pointed out that the class wasn’t without its opposition!


As the 1960s moved on, so too did machinery.


It was a time when the ploughing was sponsored by the Co Longford Agricultural Committee, which held great stead in the county at the time.
But it is traditional farming methods that appealed to Eamon the most.
The Kenagh man loves horses and horse ploughing and of course Loy digging.


After the emergence of no less than three All-Ireland Loy digging champions from Longford a few years back - Matt Connell Sr and Bernard Casey (Senior Loy) and Matt Connell Jr (Junior Loy), Eamon began to take a nostalgic look back at the skill and the importance it held for the land before advances in machinery took hold.


Meanwhile, the County Longford Ploughing Championships went from strength to strength and competitors and spectators alike began coming from all over the country to local matches.
Eamon established the Queen of the Plough in the 1960s and was also instrumental in setting up the Farmerette Class.


And, now at 84 years young, Eamon is planning for the next ploughing event which takes place in Carrickedmond on Sunday, March 25 next at 12 noon. God Speed the Plough!

You may also like to read: 

10 things that will help townies blend in at the National Ploughing Championships

Longford Ploughing is a family affair

Ploughing all the way to All-Ireland Championships at weekend Novice event