Everything ran smoothly at the Ratheniska site in Co Laois, with National Ploughing Association managing director Mrs Anna May McHugh and her stewards and workers doing trojan work to cater for the total attendance of more than 279,000.
The event was opened by President Michael D Higgins, who traversed the site and showed a special interest in e horse ploughing, which he said was dear to his heart, reminding him of the farming methods of his youth in Co Clare. Also present on various days were the Taoiseach and members of his cabinet, the political party leaders, and church dignitaries.
Among the attractions for the huge attendances were the 1,400 trade exhibitors; seeing plough competitors Eamonn Tracey from Co Carlow and John Whelan from Co Wexford, Ireland’s gold and bronze medal winners at the recent World Ploughing Contest in Bordeaux, France; and a look at the tractor used by Charlie Keegan, when the Wicklow man won the world championship for Ireland, in Austria in 1964.
On a more romantic note, the Ploughing could be where your father met your mother. I met a family whose romance blossomed from a chance meeting at the Ploughing in Castletownroche in 1999, a couple from distantly separated counties who said they have lived happily since. So come rain or shine, the Ploughing is the place to be where all strands of society meet-up in mutual harmony.
Ploughing competition results
1. Brendan Greene (Laois); 2. Kieran Coakley (Cork West); 3. Sean Monaghan (Longford); 4. Cian Keohane (Cork East).
1. Ger Coakley (Cork West); 2. David Jamison Antrim; 3. Eric Wickham (Wexford); 4. Jamie O’Sullivan (Cork East).
1. David Ownes (Kildare); 2. Tomas Cullen (Wexford); 3. Cormac O’Connor (Kerry); 4. Jarlath Colleran (Mayo).
1. Ger Collins (Cork West); 2. David King (Louth); 3. Jer Delaney (Cork East); 4. Patrick Commane (Kildare).
1. Kieran Dunne (Kildare); 2. Edward Forristal (Kilkenny); 3. Matthew Coakley (Cork West); 4. James Murphy (Tipp South).
1. Enda Kelly (Offaly); 2. Jimmy Ryan (Laois); 3. Colin Ruttle (Limerick); 4. Michael O’Halloran (Kerry).
1. Pat Furlong (Wexford); 2. James Prendergast (Waterford); 3. Kieran McGee (Monaghan); 4. D J McHugh (Laois).
1. Thomas Hartley (Kilkenny); 2. Matthew Simms (Donegal); 3. Jim Grace (Cork West); 4. Padraig Brandon (Laois).
1. James Linehan (Cork East-Seandun); 2. Frank Cullen (Wexford); 3. David Walsh (Cork West-Carbery); 4. David Murphy (Cork East-Avondhu) and David Whitney (Longford) (a tie).
1. Joanne Deery (Monaghan); 2. Cynthia Geelan (Longford); 3. Martina Flynn (Kerry); 4. Anna Marie McHugh (Laois).
1. Martin Kehoe Snr (Wexford); 2. John Whelan (Wexford); 3. Ger Coakley (Cork West); 4. Liam O’Driscoll (Cork West).
1. Gerard Reilly (Galway); 2. Gerry King (Louth); 3. Moss Trant (Kerry); 4. JJ Delaney (Cork East); 5. John O’Donovan (Cork West).
1. Ethan Harding (Tipperary North); 2. Paddy Doyle (Wicklow); 3. Alan Simms (Donegal); 4. Timmy Horan (Kerry); 5. John Keohane (Cork West).
1. Liam Prendergast (Waterford); 2. Tommy Cullen (Wexford); 3. David Gattin (Down); 4. Bertie Murray (Carlow).
1. Bruno McCormac (Meath); 2. David Levingstone (Wexford); 3. Trevor Fleming (Cork East); 4. Eoin Buttle (Dublin).
1. Ger Kirby (Cork West); 2. Emett Wickham (Wexford); 3. Lee Simms (Donegal); 4. Lorcan Bergin (Tipp South).
1 Jamie Hayes (Cork East); 2. Aidan Higgins (Galway); 3. Denis Dunne (Kildare); 4. Padraig Deery (Monaghan).
1. Niall Twomey (Cork East); 2. Paul Doran (Wexford); 3. Patrick Power (Waterford); 4. Kieran O’Connor (Laois).
1. Derek O’Driscoll (Kerry); 2. Gerard Sheridan (Mayo) and Philip Healy (Kerry), a tie; 4. Noel Howley (Tipp South).
1. Tim Lawlor (Cork West); 2. James Kilgarriff (Galway); 3. Jer Delaney (Cork West); 4. Kevin Doran (Wicklow).
1. John Whelan (Wexford); 2. Martin Kehoe (Wexford); 3. Ger Coakley (Cork West); 4. Liam O’Driscoll (Cork West).
1. Eamon Tracey (Carlow); 2. Sean Keating (Wexford); 3. Matt Simms (Donegal); 4. Gary Simms (Donegal).
Eamonn Tracey and John Whelan.