Tuesday 27 September 2016

Ploughing Championships: Traffic 'heavy' but weather promising on first day

Geraldine Gittens

Published 22/09/2015 | 11:11

Sisters Amy [4] and Emma [7] O Brien from Ballyduff Upper, pictured at the National Ploughing Championships in Rathaniska Co Laois.Picture Credit Frank Mc Grath.
22/9/15
Sisters Amy [4] and Emma [7] O Brien from Ballyduff Upper, pictured at the National Ploughing Championships in Rathaniska Co Laois.Picture Credit Frank Mc Grath. 22/9/15

Gardai are advising that motorists on their way to the national ploughing championships should expect delays of up to 20 minutes.

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Crowds began pouring into the 800-acre site at Ratheniska, Co Laois, for this three-day event at 6.30am, and traffic volumes are currently described as “heavy”.

A garda spokesperson said the peak travel time to the ploughing championships will be from 11am to 11.30am this morning, and anyone wishing to avoid traffic jams should plan to delay their journeys until after this peak time.

“It’s heavy, sheer volume. Gardai are trying to get everyone in as soon as possible. There are delays entering the site and the car parks of about 20 minutes.”

“There is a large volume of people trying to get on site. Gardai are on all access routes directing traffic.”

“If people are aware that there will be delays (the peak time is now at 11am), if they were to delay their journey for half an hour later that would be better.”

Alanna Moran and Grainne Doyle both from Longford pictured at the National Ploughing Championships in Rathaniska Co Laois. Picture Credit. Frank Mc Grath
22/9/15
Alanna Moran and Grainne Doyle both from Longford pictured at the National Ploughing Championships in Rathaniska Co Laois. Picture Credit. Frank Mc Grath 22/9/15
Sisters Lucy [6] and Niamh Langford from Ballinhassig Lower, Cork pictured at the National Ploughing Championships in Rathaniska Co Laois.Picture Credit Frank Mc Grath. 22/9/15

Site conditions are muddy this morning, but forecasters are predicting a mostly dry day.

 “It’ll be mostly dry today with the odd shower,” a forecaster told independent.ie. “Tomorrow there’ll be more in the way of showers, and it’ll be the same for Thursday. We’re not expecting a deluge but there’ll be some rain.”

This is the 84th year of the national ploughing championships, which are being hosted by the Carter family for the third year in a row after last year’s event hosted a record breaking 279,500 over three days.

It began as the result of an argument in 1931 between two men about where in Ireland the best ploughmen reigned.

Now it’s spiralled into Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and agricultural trade show.

Over 1,500 stands packed with the latest farming machinery, artisan foods, and wares by farm businesses, are the places where many deals will be done.

For the lighter side of rural life, welly throwing, brown bread baking competitions, fashion shows, and vintage shows will entertain the crowd.

Oliver Callan regaled the crowds this morning with his imitations of leading Irish figures including President Michael D. Higgins. Offering some humble advice to Ireland’s next presidential hopefuls, he said they shouldn’t be too tall.

For the first time, a child safety wristband will be given to children which will allow for a contact phone number to be written on the band in case the child gets lost in the crowds.

There’s lots more to come at the National Ploughing championships. We’ll be bringing you updates right throughout the day on www.independent.ie, and  on Twitter @independent_ie.

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