Ploughing Championships: Everything you need to know

All the practical information you need, from tickets to parking to weather

Competitors ploughing fields at last year’s championship in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Competitors ploughing fields at last year’s championship in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The three-day National Ploughing Championships begin today in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Food fairs, motor shows, fashion shows and sheep dog trials are only some of the events to expect at the festival this year.

Food fairs, motor shows, fashion shows and sheep dog trials are only some of the events to expect at the festival this year.

So as you and the family get ready to make the trip to Offaly this year, we’ve compiled some useful information to help you get there and get around the site.

Tickets

If you haven’t gotten tickets online, don’t worry you can get them on the day at the gate. Adults can get their tickets for €20 (but if you order online, you can avail of a 10 per cent discount on pre-orders of more than ten).

Senior citizens over the age of 66 (ID will be required at the gate) and second level students can get their tickets for €15. Children under 12 years old go free if they are accompanied by an adult.

Transport

There are different ways to get to the event. You can drive (parking is free) or you can ditch your car altogether and use public transport. Tullamore Train Station is only 10 minutes away from the Ploughing Site.

A shuttle bus service from Bus Éireann will be in operation from Tullamore Train Station. The times of this service will operate to suit train times with pick up times from Tullamore Train Station starting at 6:55 am until 12 noon.

The Shuttle Bus service will start return runs from the site to Tullamore Train Station at 2pm up until 6pm.

The drop off and pick up point is located near the main entrance along the N52 and very close to the three main entrances along the front of the site.

You don’t have to purchase a train ticket to avail of these services, you can use the Bus Éireann drop off/pick up service from Tullamore Train Station for a small fee.

Return Ticket prices are €8 for adults, €5 for children (16 and under) and €20 for a family ticket (two adults and two children).

Check irishrail.ie and buseireann.ie for scheduled timetables and fees.

If you’re taking a taxi, there is no designated taxi pick up area in or around the event site, but taxis dropping off people will be facilitated as close to the car parks as is possible once there is no interference with the flow of traffic.

Parking

Parking is free at the event and there will be a large number of car parks near the Trade Arena to accommodate traffic coming from all parts of the country. On arrival, you will be directed into the nearest available car park and car parking stewards will direct you to a space.

In an event of this size, one is prone to forget where they parked their car. But the National Ploughing Association (NPA) is prepared. Every car park is colour coded depending on the route you are travelling.

For example traffic travelling on the brown route (you can find this in their traffic plan here) will be directed into the brown car park on arrival, and so on.

Every car park also has a colour specific blimp which can be seen from the Trade Arena to direct you back to your car park, and colour coded signs on entrance/exit to the car parks.

But be sure to take note of the image on the sign when you enter or leave the car park, for example, the sign could be a blue bear.

There are numerous maps throughout the site displaying the direction of each car park.

Finally, if you still can’t locate your car, all wristbands are numbered so the stewards can assist you in locating your car by identifying the number on your wristband.

There will also be bicycle parking. Follow the signs when you arrive to find it.

Children

There will be picnic areas, a playground, baby changing and feeding facilities, Funfair and bandstand entertainment to cater to children. There are also over 1700 exhibitors, many of which offer their own entertainment on their stands for children of all ages so there will definitely be something for everyone in the family.

The event also offers ‘Keeping You Safe’ wristbands as reassurance to anyone bringing children to the event. These wristbands are specifically for children and are handed-out at all entrances to the event allowing for a contact phone number to be written on the band in case the wearer wanders off in the crowd.

Weather

The weather should be mostly cloudy on Tuesday with occasional drizzle and a few brief sunny intervals. Occasional outbreaks of rain during the rest of the week are expected, but towards the end of the week things should start clearing up.

Amenities

Free maps are available at the event. There is also a medical centre and first aid available. Other amenities include baby changing facilities, food courts and bars, wheelchair hire, a media hub, ATMs, toilets, playgrounds and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Toilets are located in each of the three catering blocks and additionally throughout the Trade Arena.

Ploughing Results

The Ploughing Competitions results are officially announced each day of the event on the Bandstand at 6pm and will be available to view afterwards on the side of the NPA HQ stand.

Leaving the event

It is also worth noting that if you need to leave the event at some stage and intend on returning, make sure to ask the gate stewards to stamp your hand on departure. Without this stamp you may not be able to return without paying.

Accommodation

For accommodation enquiries contact: Mid Ireland Tourism, Birr Technology Centre, Birr, Co Offaly at 057 9120923 or email info@midirelandtourism.ie.

If you live near the event and have spare rooms or a property to rent, you can register your private accommodation on visitoffaly.ie or email info@visitoffaly.ie.

Alternatively, if you are looking to browse unregistered private accommodation to rent in close proximity to the site you can also check visitoffaly.ie or email info@visitoffaly.ie.