Dublin: 10 °C Monday 21 June, 2021

An urban dweller’s guide to the National Ploughing Championships

What you should know on day one of the three-day event.

Image: Declan Masterson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2010 get underway this morning at the Fennin family farm in Cardenton, Athy, Co Kildare.

The farm was chosen to host the event for the second year running due to Athy being “one of the best tillage belts in the country”, according to the National Ploughing Association.

But what’s it all about? Read on…

Plenty of ploughing

As suggested in the title, ploughing is the main feature at the festival. There are 10 national events lined up for today, including horse-drawn, vintage, and junior classes.

But it’s not all about local glory – national pride is at stake here, too. The European Ploughing Championships are being held tomorrow and Thursday, featuring competitors from 15 countries. And it’s not just any ploughing comp, it’s the European Reversible Ploughing Contest (that’s going to pretty much look like regular ploughing to the urban dweller):

Ladies’ Day, with a twist

The ‘Best Dressed’ competition typically featured at racing events is suitably presented at the Ploughing Championships as the “Most Appropriately Dressed” competition. There’s one for men, and one for ladies. Expect wellies, padded gillets and waxed raincoats to feature strongly here.

One man/woman/child and their dog

Sheepdogs feature prominently at the Ploughing, with a dog trial being held tomorrow morning and a second to follow on Thursday morning. Sheep shearing competitions and demonstrations are also scheduled. Sheep of a delicate disposition are advised to steer well clear of the Athy area until at least Friday.

Beyond ploughing

While ploughing is the main focus, it’s not the only focus of the festival. You can see a tractor being built in 10 minutes, hit any one of several fashion shows, or hear presentations on bee-keeping, pudding production or renewable energy.

The festival features a range of exhibitors showing agricultural, food and home products. Importantly, it also allows people involved in farming, whether on a large or a small scale, to meet with other people and support groups involved in the sector such as Macra na Feirme or the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).

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