Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

Milestones in the history of the National ploughing championships

1931 The first inter-county ploughing contest is held in Co Kildare on February 16 and the National Ploughing Association is born.

1933 The Department of Agriculture issues grants to county ploughing committees for entry to the Ploughing Championships.

1942 The first tractor ploughing class is introduced.

1948 New inventions, the Rotary Hoe, Clifford Rotary Cultivator, Howard Rotavator, Disc Plough, the One-way Plough and the Gang Disc Harrow are exhibited for the first time.

1952JJ Bergin represents the Ireland at a meeting of the World Ploughing Organisation and is made WPO vice president.

1954 A new ploughing competition is introduced for women. The 'Farmerette' class is opened to girls and single, married or widowed women. The winner becomes 'Queen of the Plough'.

1956 A new marriage incentive is introduced. The 'Queen of the Plough' is given £100 if she is unmarried and not over 25 on the morning of her wedding.

1958 JJ Bergin, founder of the NPA, passes away, leaving a thriving national ploughing event as his legacy.

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1964 Wicklow's Charlie Keegan becomes world ploughing champion in Vienna, Austria.

1965 Snow postpones the Ploughing Championships at Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, by a week.

1971 Attendance at the event in Finglas, Co Dublin, falls dramatically and the event is a financial loss.

1973 Anna May McHugh becomes NPA managing director and Ireland hosts the four-day World Ploughing Contest.

1981 Ireland hosts its third World Ploughing Contest.

1986 Water sprinklers are brought onto the Ploughing site at Woodsgift, Co Kilkenny, in an attempt to keep the dust down.

1988 The event becomes a three-day event at Oak Park, Co Carlow.

1994 Wexford man Martin Kehoe brings home the first of his three World Champion titles.


The Ploughing Championships grows to 180,000 spectators, 320 competitors, 1,100 exhibitors, 14 shopping arcades and generates €10m for the local economy.

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