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Saturday 18 November 2017

These students needed a boat to get to the ploughing yesterday, and it wasn't even raining

(front row from left) Chantelle Prendergast, Emilie Finn and Micahel Concannon.
(back row from left) Darragh Leahy, Mikie Ryan, James O'Flynn, Amie Brett, Erin Lally, Fiachra O'Cuinn, Beibhinn ni Bhuaigh ad Martin O'Goill from Inis Meain at the 2017 National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly.
Pic:Mark Condren
(front row from left) Chantelle Prendergast, Emilie Finn and Micahel Concannon. (back row from left) Darragh Leahy, Mikie Ryan, James O'Flynn, Amie Brett, Erin Lally, Fiachra O'Cuinn, Beibhinn ni Bhuaigh ad Martin O'Goill from Inis Meain at the 2017 National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Pic:Mark Condren
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Let there be no mistake; convincing 127 teenagers to get out of bed, and onto a boat at 5am on a Tuesday is a Herculean task.

But one which teacher Mairéad Ní Fhatharta managed to achieve - after weeks of planning.

“Well, the logistics certainly weren’t easy, but it was certainly worth it,” she said.

Ní Fhatharta organised a charter boat to ferry the 127 sleepy, secondary school pupils from Inis Meáin, Inis Mór, and Inis Oírr across the sea to Scraggen for the 86th Ploughing Championships.

“To make sure we got there and back in the day we had to charter the boat,” Ní Fhatharta said. “They were up before 5am, and will be back on the islands around 9pm."

The pupils were among the 112,500 strong crowd who attended the first day of the festival.

It was a record attendance level up 12pc on last year's opening day.

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