Farm Ireland

Tuesday 21 November 2017

With muddy hemlines and boots, contestants take to the catwalk

Winners of the Most Appropriately Dressed Competition, Gillian Kelleher, Cork and Clive Holmes, Waterford.
Winners of the Most Appropriately Dressed Competition, Gillian Kelleher, Cork and Clive Holmes, Waterford.
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

THERE'S something very refreshing about a Best Dressed competition that doesn't require a woman to suffer a double dose of vertigo and hypothermia in one fell swoop.

When the weather is less than good and the ground is sinking under your feet -- literally -- the normal rules of sartorial elegance do not apply.

And so, at the National Ploughing Championships, they quite simply don't. They don't even call it the Best Dressed -- they call it the Most Appropriately Dressed, which is an entirely different matter.

This is the only place where you might find yourself up on a catwalk splattered with mud and for the organisers to approvingly note that you had been "getting a good walk in on the grounds".

Contestants made apologetic noises about the mucky appearance of their hems and boots and while compere, model agent, Celia Holman Lee did make a few automatic clucks of despair, everybody knew that a bit of mud did constitute "appropriate" attire at the ploughing -- and there was precious little anyone could do about it.

"It's very difficult to dress for this," Celia conceded. She had looked for contestants who were wearing boots, "wonderful" trousers and coats with that "country look".

Fulfilling those requirements admirably was Clive Holmes (73) from Mahon Bridge, Co Waterford.

Striding the catwalk like a pro, coat slung over one shoulder and with a saucy glance at the ladies, he had them eating out of his hand. He walked off with the prize for the Most Appropriately Dressed Man.

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"I'm a former racehorse trainer so I used to go to Cheltenham a lot," he said, explaining his elegant tweed coat, beige trousers and hat.

"Fabulous," declared Celia.

Gillian Kelleher from Millstreet, Co Cork, also ticked off everything on Celia's list, winning Best Dressed Woman, in a Zara jacket, Dunnes Stores polo neck, trousers and red patent boots, red hat and red leather gloves.


She had got into the final of the competition last year together with her mother, who subsequently passed away six weeks later. Entering again this year had been "a little emotional" but she felt that she should do it, she said.

"It's the way I usually dress anyway," she said, adding that she hadn't bought anything new for the occasion but was delighted with the prize of a €1,000 holiday voucher.

Appropriate dress for people is all very well at the ploughing -- but appropriate attire for cars in the form of wheel chains were more of a pressing need. Vehicle after vehicle sank despairingly, wheels churning helplessly in the mud yesterday evening as people tried to leave the car parks and tempers became frayed.

Yes, there was certainly a lot of mud.

Teenagers were bathing in the stuff, relishing in the squelchiness -- until it was time to go home and they worried whether the bus driver would still be willing to take them on board.

Cael Colfer (6) from Ballyanne, New Ross, was also delightedly wallowing -- and right under the nose of his mother, Pauline too. "There comes a point when you have to just accept it," she said, resignedly.

At the Macra na Feirme tent, a flash mob had assembled, to raise awareness for mental health.

The only problem was, they broke a cardinal rule by telling people that they were a flash mob. Still, as they broke into 'Walking on Sunshine' and let off their red balloons, they couldn't help but brighten people's spirits.

Irish Independent

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