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September 21, 2009

Athy Hosts National Ploughing Championships

This year’s Ploughing Championships, 22 - 24th September, will play host to no less than 19 All Ireland Ploughing finals over the course of the three days. Horse Ploughing, Vintage Ploughing, specialist plough competitions and the Queen of the Plough will be just some of the finals taking place. The winner of the Supreme Conventional and the Kverneland Reversible will qualify to represent Ireland at the World Ploughing Championships in New Zealand in 2010, a feat most ploughmen aspire to. There are also qualifying competitions for the Europeans and the 5 Nations Ploughing Contest.

Using upwards of 600 acres for this year’s event, Anna May said that the amount of land available this year is phenomenal, every field is at least 50 acres. Free car parking and Entry Fee covers access all areas are two priorities for the NPA, “we attract families from Bantry Bay to Malin Head says Anna May and they have enough expense without adding more.

This year, the 78th is a special year for the National Ploughing as the first contest was held in Mr W.K. Hosie’s field, Coursetown, Athy where a perpetual cup was donated by the Estate Management and Supply Association Ltd, Kildare “to be competed for annually in a contest for the Senior Individual Ploughing Champion of Ireland”.

The first inter county ploughing match took place in 1931 with 40 entries and the National Ploughing Association was born. The land is now owned by Jim and Iris Fox and the same field will be part of the overall area used for the 2009 National Ploughing Championships nearly 80 years on.

This heritage town is steeped in history for the National Ploughing Association as Athy was the venue for the Silver Jubilee of the National Ploughing Championships in 1955, the same year that the Championships went from a one day to a two day event and also the year that current Managing Director Anna May McHugh was appointed Secretary of the Association.

Showcasing millions worth of Agricultural Machinery, the country’s Prize Livestock, Forestry Village, our finest Bio Energy Village ever, Tented Lifestyle Village, Food Fair, Craft Centre, Educational & Business Arcade, State Agencies, Sporting Associations.

An on the social side – Fashion Shows, Food Halls, huge variety of exciting fast food options, Bars with top names like Brush Shiels and Richie Kavanagh playing, Entertainment all day on the bandstand with singers, musicians and dancers, Hunt Chase, Pony Games, Vintage Threshing, Sheep Dog Trials, Sheaf Tossing, Pyrenees Sheep Shearers and a few more surprises in store.

You will literally find a needle to an anchor at the Ploughing.

The National Ploughing Championships in Cardenton, Athy from Tuesday 22nd September to Thursday 24th September – it’s the “Farming Festival”