The biggest outdoor farming event in Ireland and Europe is coming home next year with confirmation that a site in Laois is set to host the 2013 National Ploughing Championships.
The National Ploughing Association announced last Sunday, November 11 that Ratheniska near Stradbally and Portlaoise will host the 2013 National Ploughing 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 with many neighbouring farmers providing ploughing and parking ground to meet the requirement of 700 acres for this huge national and international event.
The economic impact of the Ploughing Championships in 2011 was a staggering €36 million and plans for the 2013 event are already well underway as early indications would suggest that this very central Laois location just off the N80 and M7 will draw an even bigger attendance than this year’s 187,000.
The event also marks a return of the championships to the native county of the McHugh family who are Laois natives and who are central to the event each year. Speaking after the announcement at the Heritage Golf & Spa Resort in Killenard, Ms Anna May McHugh, Managing Director of the NPA said she 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 said it decided to delay announcing the location of the 2013 event primarily because there were a number of sites that were in the running and the Association wanted to ensure that each site was given due consideration.
The Championships were last held at Ballacolla, in Laois in 1995, 2000 and 2002. Next year marks the 5th time for the National Ploughing Championships to take place in the O’Moore County.
The launch took place in association with a “Celebration of Ploughing Competitors International Achievements in 2012” which brought guests from every part of the country to Killenard to celebrate massive ploughing accolades this year which included Irish competitors winning the Ploughing Five Nations competitions, the Northern Ireland International Championships, the European Reversible Contest and Runner-up in the World Ploughing Contest.