Raindrops keep falling but the crowds still turn out
THE National Ploughing Championships attracted a near-record crowd of more than 187,000 people despite bad weather and traffic problems.
A crowd of 64,000 people attended the final day of the event at Heathpark, near New Ross, Co Wexford, meaning the total was not far behind last year's tally of 190,000 in Athy, which was the highest ever seen for the three-day event.
However, unusually, organisers refused to say if the event would return to the same site next year after persistent traffic problems caused lengthy delays for many.
Spokeswoman Anna Marie McHugh said that although they sometimes announced the next year's venue at the closing of the championships, this was not always the case.
She said there were two or three other locations also under consideration for next year and they would make a final decision in the next two months.
Ms McHugh apologised to anyone who got caught up in severe traffic delays during the event but said everyone had done their utmost to keep the event going and carparks open after heavy rain the first two days.
Despite huge delays getting out of carparks, park and ride was not a workable option to ease congestion as it had been trialled for three years at Athy and not a single bus was used, she said.