Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Record crowds will break 200,000 barrier

Aideen Sheehan and Louise Hogan

RECORD crowds flocking to the mammoth Ploughing Championships will mean a €4m bonanza at the turnstiles.

More than 200,000 are expected to pour through the gates of the 'temporary town' set up on a 700-acre site in Ratheniska, Co Laois, by close of play today.

There were some estimates of the crowd reaching 100,000 yesterday, but the National Ploughing Association (NPA) said the official count was a record 90,000.

Good weather and dry ground underfoot attracted 81,000 people on the first day of the three-day event, which was up 56pc on the 52,000 who attended last year's opening day in New Ross, Co Wexford.

Organisers may take in more than €4m at the turnstiles if numbers continue to flock to the site for the final day, with adults paying €20 and students and senior citizens €15.

Staging the event costs around €3.8m. Yet, there are 1,400 exhibitors at the event which also helps offset the costs.

A UCD study, carried out two years ago, estimated more than €36m was splurged by visitors.

NPA managing director Anna May McHugh described the atmosphere as "electric" as good weather and the central location drew the record crowds.

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