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Independent.ie

Saturday 20 April 2019

Wellies at the ready as heavy rain makes for a wet start at Ploughing

Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Bring your wellies: Crowds arriving on the first day of the National Ploughing Championships in Co Offaly last year. Picture: Mark Condren
Joe Cleary, from the Thatch Vintage Club, at the National Ploughing Championships. Photos: Steve Humphreys
Nicole Thornton and Katy Stephenson take a break at an oversized bench. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Ryan Nugent and Conor McCrave

The Ploughing Championship kicks off today - with some 300,000 people expected to attend over the course of the week.

But forecasters are warning that wellies may be a necessity for all revellers as the annual event begins in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Heavy rain will have hit large parts of the country overnight.

Met Éireann meteorologist Gerry Murphy told the Irish Independent that around 7-8mm of rain will have hit the midlands area where the championship takes place, making it particularly wet on foot as people begin to descend on the 730-acre site.

While the weather will have dried up in the early morning, another 4mm is expected to hit in the afternoon, not giving much chance for it to dry up over the course of the day.

"There's rain overnight and it will make for wet ground from the word go," Mr Murphy said.

"The showers in the afternoon won't give the ground much chance to dry up. Having said that, it'll be breezy tomorrow so there'll be reasonable drying between the time of the overnight rain and the showers in the afternoon.

"People should certainly bring their wellies," he added.

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A status yellow wind warning has been issued by Met Éireann for tomorrow, which is countrywide.

Another 4-5mm of rain will come in tomorrow morning too.

While heavy winds should help with drying up the land, heavy rain again on Thursday will make for a particularly wet day for those attending.

"The most significant rainfall for the three days will be Thursday," Mr Murphy added.

Of the 730 acres of land in Tullamore, some 150 of this will be used as a dedicated display area.

Some 13,500 panels have been laid out along a significant 34km as a walkway for visitors.

Meanwhile, 5,000km of cable and 10 generators will be used to supply electricity to the event.

Some 200 volunteers were involved with putting the site together while 1,700 volunteers from organisations including GAA clubs and agri-businesses will be deployed throughout the three days.

Also set up will be 60 catering companies and three pubs will be serving food and drink to guests throughout the event.

It is expected that around 80,000 cups of tea will be consumed between today and the event's conclusion on Thursday.

Organisers say 14 acres of potatoes have also been grown to supply the event, which will also see a massive 24,000 litres of milk and 19,000 eggs consumed. Around five tonnes of cheese and 16 tonnes of Irish beef will be sold at the Ploughing Championships.

Irish Independent



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