Hopes high for record attendance at Ploughing
Hundreds of people were busy putting the finishing touches to the vast 700-acre site of the National Ploughing Championships yesterday.
There are hopes the attendance record of 283,000 will be exceeded this week when the three-day event gets under way tomorrow at Screggan, near Tullamore, Co Offaly.
"It was a relief all the lorries and heavy traffic were already moved into the fields before the heavy rains hit on Saturday," said Denis Keohane (69), chairman of the National Ploughing Association.
He spent much of yesterday marking the areas for the horse-ploughing competitions.
Mr Keohane said he had many happy memories of his early years on his family farm in Maulrour, near Clonakilty, Co Cork, using horses to plough before tractors became prevalent in the 1960s.
More than 300 competitors will vie for trophies in more than 20 competitions.
The 1,700 exhibitors have built a tented village which covers more than 100 acres of the site.
People attending the event are expected to spend more than €30m and they will come from all over Ireland, most of them using the 400-acre parking facilities after navigating an elaborate traffic management system.