Countdown to 2024 Roscommon Ploughing Championships

Jam-packed schedule in store to celebrate association’s 30-year milestone

Members of this year’s Roscommon Ploughing Championship host family Martina Beirne, Paddy Beirne and Dillon Beirne pictured at the launch of the 30th Roscommon Ploughing Championships last Friday in McDermott’s Bar, Ballinaheglish. Pic: Kieran Croghan

Excitement is building in Ballinaheglish ahead of this year’s Roscommon Ploughing Championships, which are due to take place on Sunday, the 5th of May, in Ballinaheglish by kind permission of Paddy Beirne and family (F42Y436).

Roscommon’s annual ploughing festival is an event which attracts thousands of returning visitors every year. And this year, it’s an even more significant occasion for Roscommon Ploughing Association, as it is the association’s 30th anniversary.

This huge milestone represents three decades of hard work, dedication, and positive impact by the members and volunteers who have contributed over the years – many of whom have remained long-standing since the Association reformed in 1994.

The Ploughing Championships are an annual event that celebrates the skill and artistry of ploughing. It is a competition where participants showcase their ability to plough a plot with precision and efficiency.

“These are our County championships, which are qualifiers for national level”, explained association treasurer Martina Beirne, clarifying that neighbouring counties, who will also be participating, are required to compete in the Open classes per qualifying criteria under NPA rules.

Competitors are asked to start arriving at 9 am, where they will check in with the secretary’s office and be allocated plot numbers, before starting off the competition at 12 pm. All classes of ploughing competition will feature – both confined for the Roscommon competitors and open for the visitors. The championships will include senior and junior categories for the usual tractor, horse, and vintage ploughing competitions, and a loy digging competition will also take place.

While the ploughing forms the main core of the event, the day in Ballinaheglish is also set to feature a host of other agricultural activities, exhibits, and entertainment, which Ms Beirne explains “will help make it a fun and educational event for everyone interested in farming and agriculture.

“It is a great way to appreciate the hard work and dedication of farmers and learn about the importance of soil cultivation”, she commented.

A number of kids events and attractions have also been lined up (see ‘From face-painting to fair rides – Fun for all the family at this year’s Ploughing’ in this feature for more), but the entertainment doesn’t stop there.

Talented local singers will be performing live on stage for the event and an outdoor dancing floor is going to be provided for those that like to waltz or jive.

The ever-popular traditional craft village will also be taking place, playing host to demonstrations of traditional crafts – such as a farrier with his forge, wood carving, weaving with rushes for baskets, and traditional fence-making – which gives visitors a rare opportunity to learn these skills and get involved on the day.

To compliment the craft village, various Roscommon vintage clubs will also be present, as well as other groups and individual enthusiasts interested in the preservation and restoration of old cars, tractors, farm machinery (like threshing machines, etc), and other memorabilia from our social and agricultural heritage.

The trade fair will also be running again this year, and the Roscommon Hunt will be showcasing a skills demonstration for the public. The Garda Mounted Support unit will also be present.

There is sure to be something for everyone, no matter what your interests or age, at the upcoming Ploughing Championships, with this year’s event sure to feel that extra bit special on account of it coinciding with the association’s 30-year anniversary. Be sure not to miss out on the fun, and come along on May 5th to support the community-focused event and enjoy a great day out!

For those interested in ploughing entries and trade stands, please contact Roscommon Ploughing Association’s treasurer Martina Beirne on 087 6141503 or via email at roscommonploughing@gmail.com. Keep up to date on this year’s upcoming event and all things Roscommon Ploughing by following the association on Facebook.