Our country is steeped in a rich agricultural history and the skill of ploughing has been lovingly handed down through the generations like the passing on of great fables and tales. The National Ploughing Championship in Stradbally is a great chance for city folk to get a taste of the farming lifestyle and for farmers to get away from their land and …ehh… look at more farm stuff.
President Michael D Higgins will open the show on the 23rd and it runs to 25th September so ready your wellies folks.
1 – We Are The Best In The World
No really, we can actually now claim that we have the World champion at ploughing. Farmer Eamonn Tracey is just back from France where he took 1st place in the World Ploughing Championships. We have a long history of ploughing competitions with the Irish National Ploughing Championships starting back in 1931 when two farmers argued over who was the better at ploughing and decided to compete to settle the dispute. The event has continued to grown in stature and size since then.
2 – It’s Europe’s Largest Outdoor Event
Situated not far from where the recent Electric Picnic took place it’s a heck of a lot bigger. There are over 14,000 trade exhibition stands and the visitor numbers are expected to mirror last year’s event which saw over 200,000 people trudging through over the three days. That’s about 5% of the population visiting Co. Laois in one go and that 5% spent a whopping €36.5 million over the weekend.
3 – There’s Something For Everyone
There will be multiple food stands to choose from, fashion shows and awards for both men and women, countless local produce on display, an Innovations Arena for the latest farming related advances, traditional Irish music and more tractors and farm machinery than you could throw a wellie at. There’s also something for only the bravest among us. Rentokill will be showcasing their ‘Pestorant’, serving up such things as salted ants and chocolate covered worms. Well at least they’re finding something to do with their excess insect supply!
4 – Best Brown Bread
We’re famous for many things here in Ireland and our wholesome brown bread is no exception. Back for first time since 1991 the Best Brown Bread competition will see talented bakers from all over Ireland roll up their sleeves in a cloud of (stone-ground brown) flour in a bake-off for the prize of €7000. Yup, a ribbon will not suffice, these bakers mean business.
5 – There Are Lots Of Actually Some Ploughing Too
It’s really all about ploughing at the end of the day and there will be plenty of both males and female competitors in dozens of event over the weekend, from traditional horse ploughing to vintage furrow mounted ploughing. What’s that you ask? Well you’ll have to go and see yourself.