‘Wonderful exhibition’ of rural life at Mayo Ploughing Championships

The Mayo Ploughing Championships take place on Easter Sunday in Ballyglass.

The Mayo Ploughing Championships take place on Easter Sunday in Ballyglass.

One of the most highly anticipated events in the local agricultural calendar is taking place this Sunday with the Mayo County Ploughing Championships.

The ploughing and trade show, which is expected to attract more than 6,000 visitors, is now in its 34th year and is a celebration of all things agricultural.

This year’s show will see sheep dog trials, sheaf throwing, tug-of-war, a die cast model show, exhibitions, entertainment, children’s attractions, and of course, plenty of ploughing, from 12 noon onwards at the O’Donnell Farm, Ballyglass.

The 2014 show will also feature a dog show for the first time in its history. The dog show will have 18 classes for dogs of all sizes and breeds, including pure breds and a class for cross breeds. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the winners.

Billy Staunton, assistant secretary of the ploughing association committee, said the show is a wonderful exhibition and a great family event for both urban and rural dwellers to enjoy.

“It’s a real celebration of agriculture, traditions, and country life,” he explained. “We have vintage ploughing and new style ploughing so it’s keeping those traditions alive - an exhibition of both the old and the new.”

Mr Staunton said rising costs have presented an increasing challenge to the organisers in recent years.

“We couldn’t do it without the sponsors who are so supportive,” he continued. “It’s very important to keep this show going, to keep the spirit of rural life and those traditions going, and the sponsors make that possible.”

The winners at the Mayo Ploughing Championships will go on to represent the county at the National Ploughing Championships in September, when an estimated 200,000 visitors will descend on Stradbally, Co Laois, to enjoy Europe’s largest outdoor agricultural show.

Gates open on Sunday at 8am with entries accepted until 11.30am. Ploughing begins at noon and the dogshow at 1pm.

Contact Mr Staunton on (086 ) 8683604 or Noel Walsh on (086 ) 8062276 for more information.

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