'We can cover his tracks' - Varadkar takes control of the plough in Carlow

The Ploughing offers a chance for old friends to reunite and to catch up.

'We can cover his tracks' - Varadkar takes control of the plough in Carlow

The Ploughing offers a chance for old friends to reunite and to catch up.

And it was no different for the Taoiseach when he visited the final day of the agricultural event in Co Carlow.

Leo Varadkar made a beeline for the plots as soon as he arrived. Ned and Ted, who he first met last year, were already waiting.

The two Shire horses had been up early in the morning - just the Taoiseach's type, it's a pity they don't have a vote - and the pair had a good day's work put in by lunch when the cavalcade of jeeps arrived on site.

Leo tentatively led the horses across the field, looking terrified but delighted with himself and he received loud applause for his efforts when he got to the other side of the plot.

"We can cover his tracks," said Co Sligo ploughman Coleman Cogan, who had very bravely allowed the Toaiseach take control of the plough where he was competing.

Mr Cogan, who gave a lesson in horse ploughing to Mr Varadkar in Screggan, Co Offally at last year's competitions said the Taoiseach had asked for a quick refresher course before taking the reins.

"He just asked me what he had to do, I just showed him how to put a little bit of weight on the right hand, he should have left a little bit more, but anyway," said Mr Cogan as he looked and laughed at the freshly turned sod.

The sunshine drew the crowds again on the third and final day of the massive event.

As the Taoiseach was driven through the throngs from the plots to ploughing HQ, the beat of country music blasted from the bandstand amid a sea of tents selling wellies and ice-cream vans doing a roaring trade.

But it was the roars of Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring that balled out as Mr Varadkar left the Fine Gael tent, perhaps eager to make sure the Taoiseach could hear him rousing the troops.

It was a quick dinner-in-the-middle-of-the-day where the choices were salmon, beef or ham before the Taoiseach went on a brisk walkabout.

While Health Minister Simon Harris was seen manning the Healthy Ireland marquee earlier in the week, Leo was less concerned about his diet as he made his way around.

He happily accepted a fistful of skittles when the bag of sweets was presented to him by a young boy from Co Laois.

"I love Skittles, they are full of e-numbers and things but they are still nice," said Mr Varadkar.

The child's concerned-looking mother replied: "I'm not sure if that's a reflection on my parenting."

"I ate loads of them as a kid and I'm the Taoiseach now," he reassured her.

Elsewhere on the sprawling site,

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Thank God it's all over for another year.

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