Ploughing championships leaves other festivals trailing

With 300,000 people, the event in Tullamore is now six times bigger than Electric Picnic

“It started with ploughing. It’s grown beyond our expectations. We have no intention of growing the event larger than it is today,” says Anna May McHugh, managing director of the National Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

“It started with ploughing. It’s grown beyond our expectations. We have no intention of growing the event larger than it is today,” says Anna May McHugh, managing director of the National Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

If you look at the list of exhibitors at this year’s National Ploughing Championships, you will find the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Methodist Church, the Central Statistics Office and Oxfam Ireland.

That such disparate strands of Irish society feel the need to pitch their wares at the three-day festival is a testament to its stature, not just as rural Ireland’s showpiece event, but as one of the largest agricultural trade fairs in the world.

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