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All systems go for Ploughing Championships

27th July 2017

Camilla McLoughlin

IT'S all systems go for next September's National Ploughing Championships (NPA) at Screggan from September 19-21.

Demand for bookings is unprecedented with exhibitors coming from all over the world including Turkey, the USA, UK, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, France and the Netherlands.

Over 100 road sign billboards have been erected at strategic locations throughout the country for this epic event and the trackway has increased to a massive 30km for ease of movement throughout the site and the laying down of the track will begin this week.

The Livestock Arena, Food and Lifestyle Villages are almost fully booked with the huge “dome” back again featuring over 100 exhibitors. The motor arena will be significantly bigger following hugely positive feedback in this sector last year. The dairy sector will be very well catered for with many new additions.

'' We are delighted that so many have already committed to Ploughing because that is a real seal of approval for the event. It is the primary aim of the NPA to make the event better every year for visitors and exhibitors alike and early bookings give us much more time for the optimum site design and layout,” said chief executive Anna May McHugh.

“With record crowds of 283,000 visitors in attendance last year and with the site in Screggan proving to be a phenomenal success, signals would suggest another “great ploughing” is on the way.”

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.

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 over 300 for the 3 days. There has been a substantial increase in this year’s Novice class bringing the total to over 20 entrants, which signals the growth in the next generation of ploughers.

Meanwhile as the date for the start of the championships draws near, bookings for accommodation is well underway. Many people simply re-booked immediately after last year's event and all of the town centre hotels are completely booked out since last year. Even hotels as far away as Portlaoise, Roscrea and Athlone are in high demand.

Home owners can expect to receive up to €1,000 if they give over their home for the three days. However, rooms are acceptable and many visitors will be glad to avail of any accommodation near the site.

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