Ploughing organisers get a moo-ve on as weather to draw record crowd
IT'LL be one of Ireland's largest towns for the next three days.
As over 180,000 punters spill through the gates of the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska from today, they will turn the otherwise sleepy Co Laois village into Ireland's temporary rural capital.
Watch our live stream from the Ploughing Championships from 9am today
Sprawling over 700 acres, the show has continued to get bigger with every year, and the stunning Indian summer is expected to break all attendance records for the event.
Traffic is always a mammoth task, with both exhibitors and punters alike upset with last year's three-hour tailbacks stretching from the bottleneck of New Ross, Co Wexford.
Ploughing supremo Anna May McHugh insisted that this year would be different, with a much more accessible site.
"Last year was always going to be a challenge by hosting it in the corner of the country.
"But we've had the gardai on site twice a day, every day and all week and we believe that it will be better this year. It has to be," said the defiant septuagenarian who has managed the event for decades.
A UCD study carried out in 2011 estimated a total spend of over €36m by visitors and a €6.6m windfall for the Exchequer.
The Irish Independent stand will also be back at the Ploughing Championships this year, with something for everyone.
Tomorrow afternoon, the winner of our hugely popular €48,000 tractor competition will be selected from over 13,000 entries.
Every day, columnists and editors from our team will be present on the stand, which will be located at the centre of the site at Stand 300, Row S, Block 2. Be sure to pay us a visit.