Monster Ploughing crowd expected at Ratheniska
The Ploughing Championships is the undisputed big beast of Irish outdoor events.
Despite traffic problems and some poor weather, over 187,000 people attended last year's Ploughing in New Ross and the organisers expect 190,000 plus for this year's event.
The number of trade exhibitors is also up to over 1,300, making the Ploughing one of the largest events of its kind in Europe.
And it's certainly the place to work up an appetite, with visitors expected to consume 16t of beef, three tonnes of pork, 30,000 breakfasts and munch their way through the equivalent of 14ac of potatoes washed down by 160,000 bottles of minerals, 60,000 cups of tea/coffee and 16,000 litres of milk.
The more health conscious visitors will consume five tonnes of Irish grown fruit and 1,500 boxes of Irish grown salad.
Feeding the masses will be 1,200 catering staff working from 40 catering units located throughout the 700ac site.
The outlay on food helped contribute to what a UCD study carried out at the 2011 championships estimated to be a total spend of more than €36m by visitors to the Ploughing. This resulted in a €6.6m windfall for the exchequer.
That figure is expected to be bettered at the 2013 event, which will be officially opened at midday today when President Michael D Higgins will be the guest of honour.