Farm Ireland

Saturday 21 April 2018

Tragic death overshadows first day of Ploughing

President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at the Ploughing. Picture; Gerry Mooney
President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at the Ploughing. Picture; Gerry Mooney
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

The first day of the Ploughing in Tullamore drew record crowds, but it was marred by news of the tragic death of Martin Kehoe Jnr.

Approximately 112,500 people visited the Screggan site of the Ploughing outside Tullamore yesterday. While traffic ran smoothly and the crowds were in a positive mood, news came through towards the end of the day that a farm death had occurred in Wexford.

What awful news for the farming community. It was the 16 farm death this year. And it got worse. Later, it became known that the young man was Martin Kehoe, son of the famous ploughman Martin Kehoe from Wexford and a champion ploughman himself.

The ploughing community in Ireland is tight knit and most were at the Ploughing in Tullamore, including his father who was on site.

Anna May McHugh said the family are synonymous with the Plouging and have been stalwarts of ploughing in Ireland for generations.

The news meant the first day of the Ploughing ended on a sad note, despite the good mood of the 112,000 visitors on Tuesday.

Some of those visitors included a group of 127 children from Inis Mor, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr whose teacher ran a logistical dream to get them to the site in a day.

Their journey included a boat trip off the island before they hit the road for Tullamore. "To make sure we got there and back in the day we had to charter the boat," she said.

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The pupils from the three island were joined at the site by President Michael D Higgins, Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, pop star manager Louis Walsh, who arrived in a helicopter.

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