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Leinster Express Year in Review September - Ploughing fever

NPA President James Grainger and President of Ireland Michael D Higgins cut the ribbon to officially open the 2013 National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska. Photo: Jeff Harvey

NPA President James Grainger and President of Ireland Michael D Higgins cut the ribbon to officially open the 2013 National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska. Photo: Jeff Harvey

The €36million bonanza that is the National Ploughing Championships is set to return to Laois in 2014, all going well in Ratheniska this week.

Today (Tuesday) at 12 noon, President Michael D Higgins will officially cut the ribbon to launch the three day event, the biggest in the Irish calendar.

It is expected to attract the largest crowd ever, with 200,000 visitors descending on Ratheniska, booking out every hotel and B&B for miles.

A Laois ploughing source said it was “99 percent” certain that the event would return in 12 months’ time.

Another source close to the National Ploughing Association (NPA) said that with much of the infrastructure in place, it makes sense to stay put.

“We are waiting to see how the road system works, if that is a success, I’d say it will stay. There is a heap of structures in place. Roads have been done, wells have been dug and mains put underground. Power cables are buried and won’t have to be dug up, “ he said.

The Carter family farm has been well prepared while neighbouring farms will host car parks and ploughing matches.

The championships were held in Wexford last year, but a sudden downpour led to “bedlam” according to NPA’s assistant managing director Anna Marie McHugh, daughter of MD Anna May.

“It was unacceptable last year. “We are very happy with this location, it is very central, we are thrilled it is in Laois,“ she said.

 

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