Joyous mood pierced by tragic death of ploughing champion
Let there be no mistake; convincing 127 teenagers to get out of bed, and onto a boat at 5am on a Tuesday is a Herculean task.
But one which teacher Mairéad Ní Fhatharta managed to achieve - after weeks of planning. "Well, the logistics certainly weren't easy, but it was certainly worth it," she said. Ní Fhatharta organised a charter boat to ferry the 127 sleepy, secondary school pupils from Inis Meáin, Inis Mór, and Inis Oírr across the sea to Screggan for the 86th Ploughing Championships.
"To make sure we got there and back in the day we had to charter the boat," she said. "They were up before 5am, and will be back on the islands around 9pm."
As the temperature's peaked at noon, so did the crowds with a record 112,500 attendees - up from 100,000 last year. Perhaps people were determined to make the most of the good weather - which was blustery and bright but relatively dry.
"Enjoy it. It's wellies or wet socks for the rest of the week," a man in a high vis jacket said nodding towards the horizon.
Met Éireann concurs, warning of rain across the site today - with the inevitable mud to follow.
Garda Inspector John Lawless said that yesterday's traffic was "moving well and light" partly due to the good weather and partly due to motorists following the colour-coded plan. But he warned motorists that today could be much heavier due to the forecast wet weather.
But as the sun shone yesterday, the mood was buoyant. "It's a nice day out sure," farmer John Buckley, from Buttevant, said as he entered the site. "Between this and Lisdoonvarna I'm set for the year."