Former Wicklow Ploughing Association President Edward Dowse (91) dies

The late Edward Dowse from Carnew, Co Wicklow.

Eoin Mac RaghnaillWicklow People

The tightly-knit community of Carnew was left heartbroken on Friday morning when news broke that former Wicklow Ploughing Association President and “unique character” Edward Dowse had sadly passed away.

Described as a true gentleman whose presence “will be missed at many ploughing and vintage events”, Edward was a supremely talented ploughman and a fantastic committee man who served as Wicklow Ploughing Association County Chairman for 20 years.

A tillage, sheep and cattle farmer from a great farming family in Kilcavan, Edward discovered his passion for ploughing at an early age. He represented Wicklow in the National Ploughing Championships on numerous occasions, going back as far as the 1953 competition in Mullingar, and became the first youngster to win the Ploughing Championships’ under-21 category twice, and later won two national championships with a tractor in 1977 and 1984.

Horse ploughing demands patience, nerve and robust physical strength, and even at the ripe old age of 85, Edward was still competing against men half his age. In 2017 the Carnew man competed at the National Ploughing Championships in Offaly, in the Special Horse Class, using a plough his family had bought in the late 1940s for £15.

Tributes to Edward have been pouring in from across Wicklow and beyond since he passed, with mourners praising his “fantastic sense of humour” and “warm and welcoming nature”. As Karen McGrath put it, Edward “touched everyone he met”.

Mary Kelly from Clonroche said: “My deepest sympathy Frances and extended Dowse family on the sad passing of Edward. I have fond memories of our summer meetings in Carnew, while he came to buy strawberries. Always a total gentleman.”

Reacting to the news of Edwards passing, the Wicklow and Wexford Ploughing Associations have expressed their deep sadness at the loss of a true stalwart of the national ploughing scene.

A spokesperson for Wicklow Ploughing Association said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Edward Dowse. Edward was our President in recent years. A great ploughman and a fantastic committee man who served as County Chairman for 20 years.

“He was always a pleasure to meet at ploughing matches up and down the country and one of life's gentlemen. Wicklow Ploughing want to express their sincere sympathies to Frances and his brother Joe. Edward will be missed by everyone on the ploughing scene. May he rest in peace.”

Michael Shanahan of the Co Wexford Ploughing Association commented: “On my own behalf and that of Co Wexford Ploughing Association, I wish to extend sincere sympathy to the Dowse family at the sad passing of Edward. He loved ploughing, Carnew and everything to do with Wicklow ploughing. He was a great and unique character and will be sadly missed from the ploughing fields.”

Edward is survived by his wife Frances and brother Joe and will be sadly missed by his extended family, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends.

Edward’s funeral will take place at All Saints Church, Carnew, on Monday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm dilís.