Anticipation Mounts As The Countdown Is Now On For #Ploughing17

With just over two weeks to go to this year’s epic National Ploughing Championships there was a real sense of excitement at this morning’s launch on the Screggan site, Tullamore, Co Offaly. The 3 day event opening on the 19th September.

Media and special guests were entertained by local performers the now famous identical quadruplet calves Jenny, Rosie, Mia and Fluffy, a sneak peak of the site build, horses and hounds from the hunt chase, a glimpse of the highly anticipated fashion shows and a taste of the entertainment programme for Ploughing 2017.

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh with World ploughman Eamonn Treacy, Carlow at the NPA Media launch for this years National Ploughing Championships to be held at Screggan, Tullamore19-21 September next.
Picture: Jeff Harvey.

Launching the event, NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said “The Championships not only provides a national stage for showcasing all things agricultural, but also brings together people from all sectors of Irish society both rural and urban, to enjoy three days immersed in country living,”

“It is great to see the phenomenal interest in the Ploughing Championships with countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, New Zealand, France and the Netherlands exhibiting. Also the number of overseas buyers coming to ploughing has doubled with buyers and visitors from Italy, Hungary, Australia, Prague, South Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, India, Poland, China and Russia.”

“With record crowds of 283,000 visitors in attendance last year and the site in Screggan proving to be a phenomenal success, signals would suggest another “great ploughing” is on the way.” Anna May commended the Gardai on the Traffic Plan and asked the public to travel with care and follow the plan provided.

Food and farming were the flare of the day as ploughing enthusiasts, landowners and public representatives including the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and photographic journalists got a flavour of all that “Ploughing” has to offer.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed said “It is with great delight that I am here today to launch this year’s National Ploughing Championships. This is the pinnacle event in the farming calendar and a wonderful celebration of agriculture and rural life.”

Exciting new initiatives this year will see the return of the Machinery Demonstration Area, the inaugural Harry Fergusson Macra Tractor Driver Safety Award and the Biggest Indoor Innovation Arena built at any Irish Event.

There will be an array of new exhibitors as well as hundreds of outstanding veteran companies showcasing their products and services in dynamic ways. The very latest models in agricultural machinery, quality livestock, a Forestry Village, Food Fayre, an International Business Centre.

A Local Enterprise Village with exhibitors from all over Ireland, National Brown Baking Final, Foroige Young Cooks Final, Crafts, Pig Agility, topical seminars and lots of special events.

In the ploughing stakes over 350 competitors are preparing to showcase the art of ploughing on Offaly soil over 3 autumn September days with many returning to challenge or defend a title.
Dubbed as the Farmers Festival #Ploughing 17 is sure to be trending later this month as one of Europe’s Largest Outdoor Events.

If You Have A Passion for Fashion #PLOUGHING17 Is A Must

The specially featured Fashion Shows continue to be a key attraction at the National Ploughing Championships and this year sees an even greater number of boutiques and fashion houses taking part. With each show lasting over an hour, fashion followers will be treated to all the latest styles and designs of the coming season.

Shows take place daily at 11.30 am, 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm with the Holman Lee Model Agency partnering the NPA once again this year.  Fashionista Celia Holman Lee will act as compere during each show, with models taking to the catwalk to model the latest lines and designs. Some of the participating boutiques/fashion outlets taking part in the Fashion Shows this year include:  Dunbarrys, Vanity Fair in Newbridge, Bella Mariee Bridal in Athboy and Stables at The Emporium in Birr.

This year the ever popular ‘Most Appropriately Dressed Lady’ will win a prize of over €3,000.  The winner will receive a weekend escape for two in The g Hotel staying in their most luxurious accommodation, the Linda Evangelista Suite.

Not only out to spoil the ladies that attend the National Ploughing Championships on Wednesday 20th of September, the men too are in for a designer treat! The Most Appropriately Dressed Gentleman will receive a prize of an exclusive custom-made suit sponsored by Master Tailor himself, Louis Copeland and weekend away in the Bridge House Hotel.

Throughout Wednesday 20th of September, undercover judges will be circulating throughout the site on the look-out for potential winners, so dress to impress! If you are handed a finalist tag, please make sure to be at the Fashion Show marquee at 3.30pm for the final judging and presentation of prizes.

On top of all this style and elegance, there will be numerous really high standard, great quality fashion/clothing outlets taking stands at this year’s event showcasing country clothing, footwear, rain gear, hats, gloves, sports gear, menswear, children’s fleeces, work wear, ladies shoes and outfits, bags/purses and much much more!

EIR Speeds Championships

Speeds of up to 1,000Mbs Available to all Exhibitors

As the first of over 30 kilometres of trakway for the 86th National Ploughing Championships is currently being laid to transform a green field in Screggan, Co. Offaly into the bustling hub that will become #Ploughing17.  This year there will be an additional 5 kilometres of track to greatly enhance visitor experience.  The NPA are also delighted to re-connect again with open eir as the communications sponsor for this year’s Ploughing.

As Europe’s largest outdoor event this is a major technical undertaking, last year’s event was attended by 283,000 visitors and this year there will be over 1,700 exhibitors.  The National Ploughing Championships will take place this year from Tuesday 19th of September to Thursday 21st of September.

Anna May McHugh, NPA Managing Director said “Staying connected and in touch has never been more important than in this modern age, which is why we are thrilled to renew our communications partnership with open eir.  Improving visitor experience is always a priority for the National Ploughing Championships and this year is no exception with open eir providing free charging units for mobile devices and wifi hotspots located throughout the site for attendees to use.”

Carolann Lennon, Managing Director at open eir said “We are delighted to once again be the Official Communications Partner at the 2017 National Ploughing Championships. The event is the highlight in the calendar for thousands of people across the country and we are very much looking forward to being a part of that. open eir has strong links with communities across rural Ireland and we continue to invest significantly in communications and broadband networks right across the country. Reliable high speed broadband is crucial to the sustainability of rural Ireland and that’s why our teams are working hard to deliver world class broadband speeds. We understand the critical importance of broadband – for education, for families, for farming and non-farming businesses – and the benefits it brings in terms of employment and quality of life.  No other operator is investing more than open eir in broadband rollout.

We hope our sponsorship will also help improve the quality of experience for visitors through our investment in technology at the Championships including our wifi hotspots on site. Do make sure to visit our stand– we’ll have a team of people there providing up to date detailed information on broadband rollout for every town and county and we would be delighted to answer any questions visitors have”.

An extended Trade Arena will see the return of the popular Tented Retail Village with demand necessitating the return of the “Dome” the biggest Arcade ever, with over 120 exhibitors displaying in the one arena plus hundreds more located in specialist Pavilions.

In the ploughing stakes a particularly strong programme has attracted entries from all around the country and Northern Ireland bringing the number preparing to plough in Offaly to 368 over the 3 days. There has been a substantial increase in this year’s Novice class bringing the total to over 20 entrants, which signals great interest in the next generation of ploughers.

All of the firm favourite traditional attractions are set to return this year such as Fashion, Meggers, Sheep Shearing, Hunt Chase, Pony Games, Live Music and Dancing, Vintage Ploughing, Threshing, Sheep Dog Trials, Loy Digging, with celebrities and well known faces everywhere Ploughing 2017 is not to be missed.

€10,000 Baking Prize

The National Brown Bread Baking competition in-conjunction with Aldi and the ICA has once again sparked great interest throughout the country as hundreds of bakers from every county in Ireland have entered breads of a seriously high quality, to be named as “The Best Brown Bread Baker” in Ireland at this year’s Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly.

The twenty seven individual county winners have now qualified for the Regional Final in An Grianán in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth on August 24th where the top 8 winners will be selected to go to the Ploughing Championships for the semi-finals and final in the Aldi Marquee.

This year’s prize pot is very generous, with the winner receiving at least €10,000 in profits whilst also having the prestige of selling their bread in Aldi stores nationwide. Second place will receive €1,000, €500 for third, €300 for fourth and the other semi-finalists will all get €200 each.

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said “We are delighted to be renewing our partnership with Aldi and the ICA given the popularity and success of the Brown Bread Baking competition at Ploughing. The total attendance figures for the 2016 Ploughing Championships came to a record breaking 283,000 and this year’s Championships look set to be bigger and better than ever.”

“The Championships not only provides a national stage for showcasing all things agricultural, but also brings together people from all sectors of Irish society both rural and urban, to enjoy three days immersed in country living.”

Download the list of finalists HERE