on show at plough contest
The All-Ireland Ploughing Championships, Ballacolla, Co Laois, Sept 26-28 – Irelands premier agricultural show. Andy Collings sets the scene
MORE than a ploughing match, the site of the All-Ireland Ploughing Championships is also the venue for the countrys largest outdoor display of agricultural machinery.
Held this year at Ballacolla, Co. Laois, on September 26-28, it provides an opportunity to see and assess all the latest developments and, for the mainland visitor to Ireland, the chance to appreciate some of the finest countryside Europe has to offer.
In terms of machinery though, Irelands manufacturers will be represented in strength – some of them looking to gain a foothold in the UK market. And alongside these "home" producers there will be a line-up of major implement and tractor manufacturers, each keen to display their latest wares.
Key to the event is, of course, the ploughing match. Organised by the National Ploughing Association (NPA) classes include the interesting and no doubt coveted award of "Queen of the Plough" – an award presented to the winner of the championships Farmerette Class – an opportunity for female contestants to prove their ability to plough in competition.
And vintage ploughing enthusiasts will not be disappointed by the turnout promised for this years event with Day One holding the trailer class using three-wheeled ploughs on stubble ground, Day Two seeing the MF two-furrow mounted class and, on the final day, the vintage single furrow event.
On a more modern note, competitors will compete to capture the title of National Champion in both conventional and reversible classes – the NPA is responsible for sending representatives to compete in world ploughing championships each year.
Overall, the All-Ireland National Ploughing Champion-ships looks to be a promising event – an event which regular visitors to, say, the Royal Show, will find distinctly rural and, above all else, agricultural. *