All you need to know about the Ploughing 2015

So what’s different this year, you may ask. If you’re there, you’ve a chance of being at one of the biggest National Ploughing Championships yet. Up to 200,000 visitors are expected to descend on the 800 acre site with over 1,500 stands. What’s it all about? Launching the event recently 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”. There you go. It’s never to late to be a Ploughing first timer – one in five last year were. And if you’re wondering about the age groups well 2 in 3 are between 20 and 50. The gender profile is 37% female, 63% male. Money How much money will you spend? There’s lots to choose from. In 2014, visitors to the Championships spent just under €36.5 million during the three days of the event. Personal shopping accounted for over €7 million. Trade purchases were in excess of €9.6 million. Food expenditure accounted for €9.5 million. What’s on Machinery addicts all the top brands will be showcasing the latest makes and models on the market. Last year machinery was the top attraction. Motoring exhibits have increased by 20% in 2015 and the international element is incredibly strong with countries from all over the world represented; exhibitors from the UK, Germany, New Zealand, France, Netherlands and USA; visiting delegations from China, Austria, Spain and South Africa. Business heads Whether you’re young or old, there’s something for everyone who’s a bit entrepreneurial. There’s the French Business Pavilion, a Young Innovator Bursary to a European trade fair and an International Business Centre in the Innovation Arena. Going to college? Education will also feature significantly at this year’s event with 17 colleges exhibiting between Ireland and the UK. Science magic The Science Foundation of Ireland will run a variety of walk in and bookable interactive science shows and workshops for event goers of all age groups e.g. Science magic shows, microscope workshops etc. Looking for details? Download the list of Indoor Exhibitors HERE (Excel format) Download the list of Outdoor Exhibitors HERE  (Excel format) There’s something for everyone trade, food, craft, livestock, forestry, education, lifestyle, motors, financial services, bio energy and agri service. There’s plenty of opportunity to learn something new or spend a few bob on everything from toys to clothes and the more serious stuff and there’s plenty of entertainment, not to mention the serious competitions taking place. Have a look at the full programme of events to plan your trip. Travel Where is Ratheniska? Forget Google Maps. The best way to get there is to look at the site map and the traffic plan and follow the signs for the route from wherever you’re travelling from. Ratheniska, by the way, is 5km from Portlaoise. Travel tips Look out for landmarks when parking your car. Remember which gate you came in and what’s near it. Have a camper van – check out the camper van page on the organiser’s website. You’ve to book in advance, but it could save you a journey. Take the train from all corners of Ireland Not a fan of long drives or parking in a muddy field? Pack a flask of tea and sandwiches and take the train. Travelling from Cork, Kerry, Mayo. Get a train to Portarlington. Last bus transfer from Portarlington station to Ploughing site is 09.45hrs. Last return transfer is 17.45hrs. Travelling from Galway or Mayo? Get the train to Portlaoise. The last bus transfer from Portlaoise station to Ploughing site is 11.30hrs. Last return transfer is 18.30hrs. Travelling from Waterford? Get the train to Athy. Buses will depart Ratheniska for Portlaoise 30 minutes before the return time on your ticket except customers travelling back to Portarlington and Athy, buses will depart 50 minutes before the return time on your ticket See Irish Rail’s page on getting to the Ploughing Championships 2015. You have to book in advance to get the special prices. History The first inter-county ploughing competition was the result of an argument between two friends in 1931 about whether Wexford or Kildare had the best ploughmen. Getting the most out of it While it’s lovely to wander and take in the whole site, if you’ve a specific stand you want to visit or event you want to see, a small bit of planning will make life easier. Find out the block, row and stand number of the company you want to see and mark it on a print out of the site map. Check timetables of anything you want to see from cookery demonstrations and fashion shows to the more serious business of ploughing, sheep dog trials and machinery demonstrations. From free high vis jackets to pens to food samples, there’s nothing like the Ploughing to collect a bit of ‘swag’ i.e. free, branded items handed out by companies. Food There’s plenty of food and drink options to choose from. Keep your sandwiches and flask for the journey and enjoy the range on offer at the many food stalls. And finally Have a look at the full programme of events to plan your trip. Again, the site map and traffic plan can be found on NPA.ie. Make sure to drop by our tent – Row 38 Stand 737. 
Find us on the Ploughing Site Map here. #Farming #NationalPloughingChampionships