Champions, characters and controversies in new history of our ploughing culture
A barrel of oil worth €7, a five shilling entry fee and a ten stone bag of flour for the 'Married Competitor with the greatest number in his family'. A lot has certainly changed since the first National Ploughing Championships was held in Coursetown, Athy, Co Kildare in 1931.
Former RTÉ journalist, Valerie Cox, documents the development of the Ploughing and ploughing culture as a whole across Ireland in her new book, A Ploughing People. The book journeys from the early years where ploughing was done with a horse to modern times where the national event attracts hundreds of thousands each year.
One of the book's most memorable moments is Cox's meeting with co-founder of the Ploughing, JJ Bergin's grandsons Mark and Andrew.
Their father Ivan kept everything their grandfather had gathered throughout his years at the helm of the competition, such as notes written by JJ documenting who had not paid the five shilling entry fee and the prize schedule for the inaugural Ploughing held in Athy in 1931.
While Mark and Andrew do not plough competitively, they appreciate the importance that is placed on ploughing in Irish society and are proud to be "associated with it".
"The Ploughing is fantastic, it's a celebration of agriculture, it's not just for the country person. It's all that's good about Irish agriculture," says Mark in the book.
Wicklow man, Charlie Keegan's feat as being the first Irish man to win a title at the World Ploughing Championships in 1964, reflects the country's obsession with ploughing.
Not only did the Enniskerry man receive a letter of congratulations from the then President Eamon De Valera, marks are still visible on a hill where a bonfire was burned to celebrate his success.