Record number made their way through the gates under blue skies
A record breaking number of 112,500 people attended the opening day National Ploughing Championships in Screggan. This represents an increase of 12,500 on last year’s figure of 100,000.
With clear blue skies throughout the day, shoppers and agricultural enthusiasts joined celebrities and politicians on the increased 30km of metal roadway to experience a great day out.
From farming to fashion, artisan foods to top-of-the range machinery the very best of what Ireland has to offer was on display today for people of all interests to enjoy.
An extended Trade Arena saw the return of the popular Tented Trade Village with demand necessitating the biggest Arcade ever “the Dome”, with up to 116 exhibitors displaying in the one arena plus hundreds more located in additional specialist Pavilions.
The highly anticipated and prestigious Machine of the Year competition result was also announced with congratulations going to the highest horse-power high cylinder Valtra tractor. The judges Melvin Bailey Brofi International, UCD’s Kevin McDonald and Wilfried Wolf from DLG were extremely impressed with the strength of the entries in this inaugural competition.
Speaking at the end of Day One, Ms Anna May McHugh stated “We are extremely pleased with the fantastic turnout today. The traffic flowed with ease thanks to the guard’s fantastic traffic management and visitor co-operation. Everywhere you looked people were smiling and enjoying themselves at a whole array of activities.”
President Michael D. Higgins launched the event paying tribute to Ms Anna May McHugh, the Gardaí, Offaly County Council and the hundreds of volunteers and staff that are required to stage the event. Prior to this, he visited the ploughing plots to examine the conditions and meet with the Under 28 conventional competitors and Horse Ploughing competitions. Having witnessed the competitive conditions and chatted with the county representatives, he then attended and visited several exhibitors to experience and witness all that the Championships has to offer.
Tomorrow’s action-packed day includes Fashion Shows, Celebrity cookery demonstrations, Machinery Demos, Sheep shearing, and a complete musical line up on the bandstand. Also taking place will be the All Ireland Brown Bread Baking competition, sheep shearing and the main attraction, the All Ireland Ploughing competition.
One to the highlights of the week will take place tomorrow as Ladies and Gents take part in the ‘Most Appropriately Dressed’ competitions. This year will see some fabulous prizes up for grabs for those making the effort, kindly sponsored by the ghotel, Louis Copeland and the Bridge House Hotel.
With all that is happening on site tomorrow, Scregan, Tullamore Co. Offaly is the place to be for the #Ploughing17.