THE NATIONAL Ploughing Championships took place this week at Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, with the three day event attracting 291,500 visitors.
The first inter- county ploughing contest took place in 1931 as a result of an argument between two lifelong friends, Denis Allen of Gorey, County Wexford and JJ Bergin of Athy, County Kildare.
Each argued that their respective counties had the best ploughmen and this resulted in a challenge being called for.
Therefore on Monday 16th of February 1931, the first National Ploughing contest took place in Mr W.K. Hosie’s field at Coursetown in Athy.
Since then, the National Ploughing Championships has grown in size, year on year.
It has expanded from requiring a small field of 26 acres to needing over 700 acres of land today.
Within this, the site now requires 220 acres for ploughing, 150 acres for trade stands and exhibition space, 400 acres of car parking and a demonstration area of approximately 25 acres.
Since its inception, the National Ploughing Championships has become much more than just an annual inter-county competition; it has become an intrinsic part of Irish rural life.
The National Championships is now no longer just for ploughing or machinery enthusiasts, the modern event now features something for just about every member of the community.
These include a tented trade village, a food fair, craft village, livestock, forestry, education, lifestyle, financial services, bio energy and agri service.
Along with this, there are many entertainment and special events taking place.
Some of these include: fashion shows, celebrity guests, sheep dog trials, loy digging, lamb shearing, craft demonstrations, meggers, celebrity cookery demonstrations, outdoor radio broadcasts and much more.