Mood is buoyant as the great fair begins
The agriculture sector is on an upward trajectory as tens of thousands of farmers and their families gather in Athy for the 2011 National Ploughing Championships.
With output prices up across all sectors and a positive outlook for the coming months, the mood at Cardenton site is set to be a good one.
The National Ploughing Association (NPA) is also on a high as it celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.
What began as a small inter-county ploughing challenge devised by JJ Bergin and his friend Denis Allen in 1931, has grown into the biggest rural event in Ireland and one of the largest mobile trade fairs in Europe.
Here at home, the event is known simply as the 'The Ploughing' but the event is recognised across Europe as a flagship agricultural event that other countries try to emulate.
This year's event is going to be bigger and better than ever, with 1,100 exhibitors, 320 competitors and over 180,000 visitors expected to throng the site over the next three days.
Two additional shopping arcades have been erected this year and there are more machinery exhibitors than ever before.
The sheer logistics of running such a massive event would be daunting to most but the NPA, with Anna May McHugh at the helm, runs a tight ship.