Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Record numbers at Ploughing as over 100,000 descend on Tullamore

Wellies and rain jackets strongly advised for visitors to the site on Wednesday

Brothers Andrew (5), Michael (2) and Paddy O'Brien (7) take a break at the Ploughing Championships. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Brothers Andrew (5), Michael (2) and Paddy O'Brien (7) take a break at the Ploughing Championships. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Ploughing continues to attract the crowds of both people and commercial interests, as the social place to be and be seen over the three days and a record number of people – 112,500 attended the first day of the Ploughing in Tullamore today.

Sentiment among farmers was generally positive, with dairy farmers in particular bolstered by milk price rises announced in recent weeks.

The Department of Agriculture used the event to announce that 95,000 would be receiving significant farm payments today.

However, the event was marred by news during the day of the death of a well-known farmer in a farming accident. It brings to 16 the number of farming-related fatalities in Ireland this year.

Today’s attendance at the Ploughing is up from the 100,000 that attended the first day last year and comes ahead of predicted showers tomorrow as Met Eireann predicts widespread rain moving across the country.

Ground conditions at the Tullamore site were mostly dry today, despite the wet weather leading up to the event. Only the odd muddy patch was left without bark chippings as thousands thronged to the Screggan site on the first day of the three-day Ploughing festival.

Fianna Fail TD Jim O'Callaghan jokes with Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Fergus O'Dowd TD at the Ploughing. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Fianna Fail TD Jim O'Callaghan jokes with Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Fergus O'Dowd TD at the Ploughing. Picture; Gerry Mooney

However, wellies and rain jackets are strongly advised for visitors to the site on Wednesday. Met Eireann is predicting that heavy rain will spread from the west during the morning, although things might brighten up in the evening.

Today saw President Michael D Higgins officially open proceedings, while Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin was in attendance. Other stars on the first day included pop star manager Louis Walsh, who arrived by helicopter.

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Jennifer Byrne, the local Offaly girl who won the Rose of Tralee earlier this month was spotted early in the morning, with sash and tiara in tow.

JJ Delaney prepares for competition in the senior horse plough section at the Ploughing. Picture; Gerry Mooney
JJ Delaney prepares for competition in the senior horse plough section at the Ploughing. Picture; Gerry Mooney

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