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Wednesday 17 January 2018

They came, they ploughed, they baked: Record-breaking crowd of 279,500 attended Ploughing

General view of spectators of the ploughing competition. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of spectators of the ploughing competition. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Damien Behan with son Michael, 21 months, from Ballybrittas, Laois. National Ploughing Championships 2014 . Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
SUPPLIED...No Fee... 24 September 2014 Peter Gohery, who lost a leg in an accident in Eyrecourt, Co. Galway in 200, with Brian Rohan, founder of farm accident support group Embrace FARM, at the National Ploughing Championships in Co. Laois today. Embrace FARM, which was founded by Brian after his father Liam died in a farm accident two years ago, today launched a major video campaign involving testimonies of families who have lost loved ones to farm accidents. Picture: Jeff Harvey/HR Photo


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Roisin Kinsella from Athy and first cousins Ellie and Amelia Bennett from Athy enjoying day two of the National ploughing championships in County Laois. Pic:Mark Condren
Liam Farrell (12) from Westmeath meets with former Irish rugby player John the Bull Hayes at day two of the National ploughing championships Pic:Mark Condren
John Tallis (9) and his mother Dorothy from Kilkenny at a fashion show on Fday two of the national ploughing championships. Pic:Mark Condren
Siofra Marum (11) from Portlaois enjoying the brown bread bake off on two of the national ploughing championships. Pic:Mark Condren
Minister Simnon Coveney at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Conor Kelly and Sean Barry fron Cork enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
A young boy takes a rest at day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Conor Kelly and Sean Barry fron Cork enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Elaine Farrell from Castletwonroche in North Cork enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin at day two of the National ploughing championships in County Laois. PIc:Mark Condren
Enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Crowds enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Peter Finnegan from Monahgan and Lesley Anne Conlan from Athy who won the most appropriate dressed man and woman award at day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

They came, they shopped, they ploughed and they baked.

A record breaking crowd of 279,500 visited National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois, where a massive clean-up operation is already getting underway.

The 800 acres site was packed for a third day in a row with the sun shining as everyone caught a glimpse of the best rural Ireland has to offer.

Away from the political controversies back in Dublin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny slowly made his way through the crowds like a celebrity with parents handing over their youngsters for photos.

International Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois. Photo: Pat Moore
International Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois. Photo: Pat Moore

Rose of Tralee Marie Walsh and a former pupil and football teammate of the Taoiseach were among the familiar faces eager to say hello.

Stephen ‘Horse’ Sweeney said Mr Kenny was mild but firm man who “took no nonsence” when he taught him during his teacher training in 1969.

“He always had leadership potential,” said the 57-year-old fellow Mayo native.

In the ploughing fields Mr Kenny met three generations of ploughmen, including world champion Eamonn Treacy and his father John and son Sean, both previous national winners.

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Emma Quinn, 13 months, from Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare enjoying the fresh air. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Emma Quinn, 13 months, from Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare enjoying the fresh air. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Robert Barry, 16, from Fermoy, Cork. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Odlum's Catherine Leyden and TV Presenter Eoghan McDermott cook up a storm at The Erin Kitchen. Photo: Julien Behal/Maxwells
Tadhg O'Connell, from Glenville, Cork, Frank Roche, Fermoy, Cork, and Liam Keane, from Kilworth, Cork. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day Two. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Celebrity chefs Clodagh McKenna and Martin Shanahan featuring in the Electric Ireland Surf 'n' Turf Challenge at the 2014 National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois. Photo: Stephen Wall Morris
Celebrity chefs Martin Shanahan and Clodagh McKenna taking part in the Electric Ireland Surf 'n' Turf Challenge at the 2014 National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois. Photo: Stephen Wall Morris
Aibhlinn Doheny 10, Ratheniska and David Vesey 15, Abbeyleix from Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, launching "Trad for Trocaire" which commences this Friday and runs until October 3. Funds Raised by this tradional music week will support Trocaire's work in over 20 countries overseas. Karen Morgan/Lensmen Photographic Agency
Michaela Gilooly, 8, from Williamstown, Galway. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Lauren Robinson, from Clane, Kildare, with 'Alice' the dog. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Ryan Davis (3) and his brother Corey (4) from Balylinan, Laois, in their Laois Ploughing official uniforms. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Brothers Oliver, left, and Gerard Ferguson, from Belleek, Co. Fermanagh soaking up the atmosphere in Stradbally. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Tom Guinan, from Banagher, Offaly, and Siobhan O'Brien, from Loughrea, Galway. Picture: Caroline Quinn
A day in the sunshine calls for a selfie. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Spectators at the Ladies' ploughing competition. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Tense gazes on the sidelines during the Ladies' ploughing competition. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Damien Behan with his son Michael, 21 months, from Ballybrittas, Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Children take front row seats at the National Ploughing Championships 2014. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Taking a well-earned break in Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Tom Ryan, from Grange, Clonmel, Tipperary. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Tom Coffey, from Waterford. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of man viewing a combine harvester. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Síle Tyrell, 16, left, and Tríona Tuipéar, 17, from Clonakilty, Cork. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Friends from Co. Carlow. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Cadán Core, 4, from Raharney, Westmeath, enjoying the day. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Students from Sacred Hearth Secondary School, Clonakilty, Cork, l-r; Ellicia Vaughan, 15, Louise O'Regan, Niamh O'Regan, 16, Joely Grimes, 16, Amy O'Sullivan, 15. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Eimear Hayes, 10, Rachel Butler, 9, Emer Butler, 14, and Sarah Butler, 16, from Bandon, Cork, show off their new hurleys bought today. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
The sky over Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois this evening. Photo: Bairbre Power
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the Welly throwing competition. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the area from National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the area from National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the area from National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the area from National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the area from National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of people being transported through the car park. National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the ploughing. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the area from National Ploughing Championships 2014 - Day 2. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn

He even made a made a surprise appearance at the final of the National Brown Bread Baking Competition, where Tipperary woman Betty Williams won the coveted award after a final bake-off against three highly- skilled bakers from all over the country.

Ms Williams, from Clonmel, has been baking for 50 years but took it up in earnest four years ago when it helped her through a very difficult period in her life.

Rugby stars Rob and Dave Kearney joined the National Dairy Council on the first day of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co. Laois Picture Dylan Vaughan
Rugby stars Rob and Dave Kearney joined the National Dairy Council on the first day of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co. Laois Picture Dylan Vaughan
Rob and Dave Kearney to Join NDC at Ploughing & Judge ‘Welly Line Out’ NDCDome at ploughing: Block 3/ Row 21/ Stand 306 Picture Dylan Vaughan
23 Sept 2014; General view of vintage tractors. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
23 Sept 2014; DJ Courtney from West Cork enjoying the ploughing championships. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
23 Sept 2014; Chloe, 7, Amy, 4, and Shanon, 9, from Ballyknockan, Portlaois. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
23 Sept 2014; Kate Doherty, 2, from Rathkeale, Limerick, plays with toy farm. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Rugby stars Rob and Dave Kearney joined the National Dairy Council on the first day of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co. Laois Picture Dylan Vaughan
Rugby stars Rob and Dave Kearney joined the National Dairy Council on the first day of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co. Laois Picture Dylan Vaughan
Rugby stars Rob and Dave Kearney joined the National Dairy Council on the first day of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co. Laois Pictured were Rob And Dave Kearney in the Welly Line Out. Picture Dylan Vaughan
23 Sept 2014; Michael Francis, from Athlone, Westmeath, and his grandson William Redmond, 2. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Man enjoys a snack. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Emma Tracey, 16, Nicola O'Keeffe, 15, Ciara Hughes, 16, and Christina Tobin, 15, from Clonmel, Tipperary. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Mick and Kathleen from Gurteen, Co. Sligo. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dean Earle, 13, from Gorey, Wexford, tries his hand at a milking machine. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Group from Carlow. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of the Irish Independent tent. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Sr. Monica, left, and Sr. Gwen, from the Carmelite Monestary, Delgany, Wicklow. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Ben, 8, and brother George Guiney, 8, from Brosna, Co. Kerry, pictured with a Combine Harvester. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Young revellers from Kilkenny. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
l-r; Rebecca Ogilvie, 10, Ellie Keogh, 10, and Niamh Ogilivie, 12, from Clonroche, Wexford. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Kayla McAuley, 10, from Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
l-r; Joe Phelan, from Laois, Raymond Delaney, from Laois, and Peter Browne, from Offaly. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Young boy takes photo of pigs. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
l-r; Sophie Clancy, 16, Roisin McGrath, 16, and Claire O'Toole, 16, from Ennistymon, Co. Clare. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
The Condren family; Eddie and Michelle with children Orlaith, 11, and Eabha, 9, from Abbeyleix. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Twins Leo, left, and James Walsh, 6, from Castlebellingham. Co. Louth. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
l-r; Cameron Byrnes, 15, Lauren Norton, 16, Amy Kelly, 15, and Ellen Liddy, 15, from Ennis, Co. Clare. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Frank and Joan Burke, from Newbridge, Co. Kildare. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn

"I love baking and I love making things for people, but I never expected to win something like this," she said.

"The secret of success in baking is a hot oven.”

Thousands of families from all over Ireland descended on the site, including the Magee family from Inniskeen. Co Monaghan.

Dad Fintan revealed he and sons Cormac (8) and Conor (6) were there for the machinery, while mother Majella and 13-year-old daughter Orla planned to shop and visit the trade and cookery demonstrations.

“I don’t think we’ve ever made it to the ploughing,” said Mrs Magee.

For the organisers the mammoth clean-up operation gets underway, with the 1,400 exhibit stands and the 25km of track-way laid for the internal road network getting packed up until its 84th year.

Mr Kenny said the championships have been a massive success again this year.

“It is an essential part of the farming calendar with people from all over the country, young and old, family farms, everybody involved in the production of machinery and exports from Ireland to international countries,” he added.

“It’s a great occasion. It’s a big family, community, agri, economic occasion and it’s for a very bright future.”

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