Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric despite the occasional shower, visitors poured in the gates from early morning to embrace the ‘Ploughing’ experience. With 97,500 attendees enjoying everything from farming to fashion, artisan foods to top-of-the range machinery, quality livestock and ploughing competitions of an excellent standard.
This year’s event is the perfect example of the very best of what Ireland has to offer for people of all interests and sensibilities.
President Michael D. Higgins officially launched the event with a rousing address paying tribute to Ms Anna May McHugh, the Gardaí, Offaly County Council and the hundreds of volunteers and staff that are required to stage the event. Prior to this, he visited the ploughing plots to meet ploughing competitors. Having witnessed the high standard of competition he then chatted with the county representatives, he also attended and visited several exhibitors to experience and witness all that the Championships has to offer.
The highly anticipated and prestigious Machine of the Year competition result was also announced with congratulations going to Agri-Spread International for their Automatic GPS section control on their equipment with a double belt system and precision Ag controllers. The judges Melvin Bailey Brofi International, UCD’s Kevin McDonald and Wilfried Wolf from DLG were extremely impressed with the strength of the entries in this inaugural competition.
Speaking at the end of Day One, Ms Anna May McHugh stated “We are extremely pleased with the fantastic turnout today. The traffic flowed with ease thanks to the guard’s fantastic traffic management and visitor co-operation. Everywhere you looked people were smiling and enjoying themselves at a whole array of activities.”