Location looks certain to have been deciding factor in the National Ploughing Championships returning to Laois for what could be a record breaking year in 2013.
After some dissappointment over the outcome in Wexford this year, the National Ploughing Association are confident that the choice of Laois site will lead to a return to form in 2013.
There was a great air of excitement at the Heritage Golf and Spa Resort Hotel as upwards of 500 people gathered to hear the NPA confirm that Ratheniska will host the Championships on September 24, 25, 26 next year - bridging a 70 year gap since the Championships was last held in the area.
David Carter and his family will be the main landowner but at least 15 neighbouring farmers will provide ploughing and parking ground to meet the requirement of 700 acres for this huge national and international event.
The NPA say the very central Laois location just off the N80 and M7 will draw an even bigger attendance than this year’s 187,000.
The event marks a return to the native county of the McHugh family who are central to the event each year. Mrs Anna May McHugh, Managing Director of the NPA was delighted to see the event staged in Laois.
“I’m obviously delighted that the Ploughing is coming to my home county next year and I am really looking forward to working with the people of Ratheniska, Stradbally and Laois to make this one of our best events yet,” she said.
The NPA delayed announcing the location of the 2013 event primarily because there were a number of sites that were in the running and the Association said it wanted to ensure that each site was given due consideration.
Mrs McHugh told the Leinster Express that location was crucial
“It’s very good and it’s very central and we are near motorway which is very important.
“It is a big factor that we have very good road acess and central for people when you think of people coming from as far of as Kerry or Donegal – Portlaoise and Ratheniska would be very central.
“The traffic was a problem (in 2012), having said that the gardai did great work. We are sorry we are not going back (to Wesford) but we felt that the traffic was a problem. We are hoping that we can rectify that next year,” she said.
The Championships were last held at Ballacolla 2002. Next year will be the 5th time it takes place in the O’Moore County.