Where there's muck there's money but organisers must dig deep with €3m bill
Eighty years on, inaugural site to host more than 1,100 exhibits over 700 acres of land
EIGHTY years ago the bill for hosting the National Ploughing Championships came in at a modest £9-3s-5p, compared with today's cost of €3m.
More than 180,000 people are expected through the gates in Cardenton, Athy, Co Kildare, for the three-day event, which opens tomorrow.
All 1,100 exhibits are in place, the ploughing sites have been marked and only the final touches remain.
President Mary McAleese, who has attended every year during her term in office, will officially open the event.
The championships were given a boost over the weekend when word came from Strasbourg that 23-year-old Gerard Coakley, from Cork, took second place in a European ploughing contest.
Gerard is "one to watch" in the under-28 championships, according to managing director of the National Ploughing Association (NPA) Anna May McHugh.
"He's very promising, so we're looking forward to seeing him on Tuesday and Wednesday."
Ground conditions are good after a dry weekend in Cardenton and Ms McHugh said there was a "better atmosphere" surrounding this year's championships.