A welcome opportunity to mingle with kindred spirits
I know the Ploughing was covered ad nauseam by all last week, but I'd like to add my tuppence to the coverage of the event before it's consigned to the history books.
I used to always think that one of the main reasons we flock to the Ploughing is to catch up with friends we mightn't have seen since the same time last year.
But hiking up, down and across the trackways of Ratheniska I realised that many of us are there not just hoping to bump into specific people.
We also want to be among kindred spirits - people with similar values and lifestyles, similar problems and similar footwear. Everywhere you looked there were people just like you - people who live on the land, off the land and for the land.
For many of us, it's also an opportunity to engage with the human face of the businesses and organisations we deal with on a regular basis but rarely meet.
Automated reply services and overseas' calls centres have robbed us of the priceless personal connection. People who deal with other people on a daily basis may not understand how this impoverishes so many lives.
Is it too much to suggest that we were largely there as a momentary antidote to the growing sense of isolation and insecurity sweeping rural Ireland?
However, in the midst of this I heard the story about a farmer who came to the Ploughing intent on marching into the Department stand to withdraw from the beef genomics scheme.