Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Be sure to put your invention to the test at Tullamore Show

Derek Casey

Derek Casey

THE popular Farming Independent inventions competition returns to County Offaly in August and offers serial innovators and students a springboard for future success.

Tullamore Show, incorporating the AIB National Livestock Show, always draws a crowd but one section of this popular show is particularly well-attended – the inventions competition.

This year, it will be headed up by Lesley Cox, an agricultural science teacher and daughter of the well-known Rodney Cox, a man many former competition entrants will be familiar with.

The competition has been getting more popular with each passing year. It draws out the curiosity and inventor in every one of us, and is a must-visit for anyone coming to the Tullamore Show on Sunday, 11 August.

To help stimulate those clever inventions a total of €2,000 in prize money is being provided by three sponsors, the Farming Independent; WR Shaw, Rosenallis, Co Laois; and Glenngorey Pumps Ltd, Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Last year, there were around 60 entries, which organisers say was the largest number since the competition began.

This year promises to be no different, with a large number of entries already received and more sure to follow as potential bright sparks avail of the opportunity to give their idea or invention a high-profile launch pad for future success.

Speaking to Ms Cox about this year's event, it seems that student entries for the inventions competition are getting more impressive every year. For this reason, there is now a student category in each one of the competition classes.

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She said: "This year there is huge interest and enquiries from students in the inventions competition and at a level which we haven't had before either.

"I see it myself in my role as a secondary school teacher; more and more students are taking agricultural science on as a subject. And it isn't just rural students – there is now growing demand for agricultural science in the Dublin schools as well.

"This shows the national appeal of farming and it is pleasing for us at the Tullamore Show because we have always been chiselling away at the student sector, both second and third level, trying to encourage them to enter the competition."

So big have the crowds been to the show in recent years that, in order to facilitate the judges assessing the many different entrants, judging of the inventions competition now takes place the day before the show.

The judges come from educational, scientific and industrial backgrounds so a fair and thorough judging of all entrants is assured.

Another interesting aspect of the competition is the presence of a very helpful team from the Patents Office in Kilkenny. They will be at the event again this year to answer any queries from budding inventors.

This is a really important consideration because without a patent inventors would not be able to prevent others from copying their invention. In addition, first time inventors – even though they might have a really good idea – are often not in a position to produce or market their invention with their own resources. Patents provide a basis for owners to negotiate with potential investors while preserving their intellectual property rights.

So, if you think you have invented the next big thing (or even the next little thing), why not bring it along to the Tullamore Show this August?

The inventions competition is an ideal event to showcase your invention or idea and it could be the springboard to success that you have been waiting for.

For advice on your invention, contact the Patents Office on 1890 220 223.

Remember, your invention will need patent protection before going out in public if it is something that you are serious about marketing. Check out the Patents Office website at

Entering an invention to the competition costs €20 and this can be done at or by phoning the Tullamore Show office on 057 9352141.

Irish Independent