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Saturday 21 October 2017

'It's the non-farmers running for shelter, we're used to the rain' - Mud, madness and misery at the Ploughing

National Ploughing Championships 2017. Lucy (5) and David Kent (8) make their way through the site in the pouring rain. Picture; Gerry Mooney.
National Ploughing Championships 2017. Ice Cream vendor Lukas Podkanaski has a quiet day as visitors make their way through the site in the pouring rain. Picture; Gerry Mooney.
National Ploughing Championships 2017. Rachel Gardner and her son Luke (8 months) make their way through the site in the pouring rain. Picture; Gerry Mooney.
Torrential rain hits the Ploughing Championships
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

THE weather at the Ploughing Championships has taken a rather large turn for the worse on the second day - meaning thousands have had little choice but to run for shelter from the torrential rain.

Farming enthusiasts in Tullamore were caught in mud, madness and not a little misery as lashing rain pounded the tents and arena today.

No amount of umbrellas and wellies could save revellers from the mucky puddles and destroyed footpaths and tractors pulling slurry tankers were seen heading towards the flood-hit areas to help fire crews drain the quick forming lakes.

Met Eireann issued a status yellow weather warning as heavy rain for today and they weren't wrong as very heavy downpours tried their best to dampen the spirits of the hardy who visited on day two of the Ploughing.

And did the rain fall. By lunchtime a number of heavy showers had soaked the site and visitors alike and Met Eireann's weather warning remains in place until 3am tomorrow.

However, it's not the farmers who were running from shelter.

Getting RAIN ready at the Ploughing Championships in Screggan Co Offaly
Getting RAIN ready at the Ploughing Championships in Screggan Co Offaly
Getting RAIN ready at the Ploughing Championships in Screggan Co Offaly
Ice creams in the rain at a recent National Ploughing Championships. Photo: Frank McGrath

Farmer John Donohoe said the wet, miserable weather doesn't bother him at all.

"We don't mind the weather at all. We're used to it as farmers. Our work is always based on the weather.

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"It's the non-farmers running for shelter here, we don't mind the rain. You don't run for cover, you just keep going."

Farmer Mick Kinsella said that he "doesn't mind the rain" but that the excitement soon turned to misery.

"I don't mind the rain but it ruins the atmosphere and everyone is miserable. Even the walkways are impassible."

Farmer Michael Hanlon is almost too enthusiastic about the rain.

"The weather is fabulous, it adds to the atmosphere. If you're going to get wet, we may as well get wet all out in the muck together. I think it adds to the Ploughing Championships because we all spend more time looking inside the tents."

Met Eireann forecaster Matthew Martin said that the "rain isn't going anywhere soon".

"There might be a half an hour respite from the rain today but it's going to be very wet for ploughers.

"Tomorrow will be much better with sunny, bright conditions. It will be better tomorrow in Tullamore with only a few showers expected."

What to see on day two

1. Visit the miracle quad calves - the four 180m to one quad calves were born on Tom Clair's farm in Clare. Now, you can see them in real life at the Ploughing where Rosie, Fluffie, Mia and Jenny are lapping up the attention.

2. Electric is the future and the Tesla electric car with gull wing doors was quite the attraction on day 1 of the Ploughing. Close by you can also see the VW assault course where you can drive a jeep around the obstacles. Farmers will want to see the Keenan self propelled diet feeder - the first time it's been on show in Ireland, while the pink Valtra tractor has proved quite the popular picture opportunity.

3. Call into the innovation tent to see the latest in agricultural inventions and ideas, while the vintage machinery displays show how things were done in the good old days.

4. Foodies can take respite from the rain in the numerous marquees with local food on offer. The Visit Offaly marquee will also be displaying the best the host county has to offer.

5. Rugby start Jamie Heaslip will be part of a sporting panel in the Independent stand - Row 9, 222 - where he'll discuss being a top level sports player.The Irish Independent talks will start at 11am with a very interesting talk about marriage, pre-nups and divorce and the implications on farms. Solicitor Deirdre Flynn, Barrister Teresa Murphy and financial accountant Martin O'Sullivan will join INM Group Business Editor Dearbhail McDonald to discuss the implications of marriage breakdown on farms.


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