Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

Three time show hosts steeped in Ploughing

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

For the third year in a row, the Fennin family will host the National Ploughing Championships at Cardenton, close to Athy, Co Kildare.

The family is steeped in the Ploughing, with the exhibition area and ploughing sites located between the original family farmhouse owned by Willie and Bridie Fennin and the home of their son Eamon and his wife Therese.

Meanwhile, Eamon's sister Mary manages the family-owned Clanard Court Hotel, which will be the National Ploughing Championships headquarters for competitors, exhibitors and National Ploughing Association (NPA) staff throughout this week.

The Fennins own around half of the 700ac that will be used for the Ploughing Championships, while their neighbours, including Jim Fox, own the rest of the land used for parking.

Tillage farmer Eamon has become accustomed to the hectic planning and construction timetable that come with being a host farmer and has adjusted his crop rotation to suit.

Spring oilseed rape was harvested off his 350ac farm last week, bringing to a close a busy harvest that included malting barley, winter wheat and peas.

He has switched away from winter oilseed rape and winter barley in recent years to accommodate the NPA.

However, crop choices are not the only changes that have occurred on the Fennin farm since it became the host farm three years ago -- Eamon and his wife Therese have a new baby girl since last year's event.

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Seven-week-old Grace will join her brothers Joseph (7) and Will (4) at this week's Ploughing Championships.

While Eamon is reluctant to speculate on whether the boys will become farmers, he admits that they get excited by the championships.

"They certainly love talking about farming anyway," he laughed.


"They love looking at all the machinery at the Ploughing and seeing the animals."

With the event moving to Wexford next year, it will undoubtedly be more relaxed in Cardenton in 12 months time than it has been over the past few years.

"Every year, the NPA starts work in mid-August and it starts to snowball from there, getting bigger and faster every week," said Eamon.

"It's a fantastic event for the local economy and a great opportunity for anyone in business to sell to all types of people from all over the country.

"It's amazing how many people volunteer every year to help out, and I wish the NPA and all its workforce the very best."

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