Record numbers attend first day of National Ploughing Championships 2017

Longford ploughmen (and women) to the fore as competition heats up in Co Offaly

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

National Ploughing Championships 2017

Eamon Egan with Murph & Gerry at last year's National Ploughing Championships

They came from all over the world to the first day of this year’s National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co Offaly

Spirits were high and the sun shone down in all her glory as 112,500 visitors descended on the site throughout the day.

The figure represents an increase of 12,500 on last year’s 100,000.

From farming to fashion and artisan foods to top-of-the range machinery, all the very best of what Ireland has to offer was on display today with something for everyone to enjoy.

An extended Trade Arena saw the return of the popular Tented Trade Village with demand necessitating the biggest Arcade ever ‘the Dome’ with up to 116 exhibitors displaying in the one arena and hundreds more located in additional specialist Pavilions.

Director Anna May McHugh said she was delighted with today’s proceedings.

“I am extremely pleased,” she smiled.

“It was a fantastic turnout today and the traffic flowed with ease thanks to the Gardaí’s fantastic traffic management and visitor co-operation.”

Meanwhile, there was plenty of competition on the field with Longford ploughmen Tom Reynolds in the 3 Furrow Conventional Plough; Sean Monaghan - U28 Conventional Plough; Anthony Reynolds - Intermediate Conventional Plough; Martin Reilly - Intermediate Conventional Plough; Charlie Stewart - 2 Furrow Vintage Trailer Class and Brian Casey showcasing his skills in the U40 Horse Class.  

President Michael D Higgins officially launched the event this morning and he visited the ploughing plots to examine the conditions and meet with the Under 28 conventional competitors and Horse Ploughing competitors.

Tomorrow will see Cynthia Geelan - Farmerette Conventional Plough; Billy Stewart - 2 Furrow Vintage Mounted and Bernard Casey - Senior Horse Class battle it out for All-Ireland glory and Granard man, Vincent Kiernan will find out whether or not he has clinched that much coveted Machinery Entrepreneur of the year award!  

It will be an action packed day that will include fashion shows, celebrity cookery demonstrations, machinery demos, sheep shearing and a complete musical line up on the bandstand.

Also taking place will be the All-Ireland Brown Bread Baking competition and the Leader is hoping to catch up with local cattle breeders Coote Geelan and JJ Farrell as well.

For more check out National Ploughing 2017 on www.longfordleader.ie