Tractor on which Charlie Keegan won World Ploughing Championships in 1964 restored

The green Deutz D40Ltractor, restored by grandson Michael, will take centre stage at Ploughing Championships

 
A 50-year-old green tractor will take pride of place at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois on the National Ploughing Association’s stand.

But it’s not just any tractor. The 1964 Deutz D40L tractor was the one Wicklow farmer Charlie Keegan used when he became the first Irish man to win the World Ploughing Championships in 1964.

His grandson, Michael Keegan from Enniskerry, spent the past nine months restoring it after tracking it down to a farm in Kilcoole. He said about 1,000 man hours have been put into the restoration job.

“Not all by me, of course. We had a lot of other people helping us out. It was a case of beg, borrow and steal to get the parts. We got parts online, from neighbours, scrap yards, everywhere.”

He has also secured the exact model of the plough that won the competition. The original plough was a 1964 Kverneland Hydrein match special, made in Norway, but Charlie Keegan had used it for spare parts. “But we have a lot of pieces of the old plough on this one. We bought this one in England – the only place we could get one.”

Getting help

Restoring the tractor and plough cost about €14,000. “I couldn’t have done it without getting help from people like Tom Murphy in Clane who rebuilt the engine, Ecoblast in Kilcoole, Kverneland Ireland and businessman Tony Killarney.”

Charlie Keegan was one of the first people to bring a world title of any type back to Ireland and it was a major event in 1964. He was carried shoulder-high off the aircraft with the Golden Plough trophy in his arms and a motorcade escorted him to Enniskerry.

Now that the job is finished what will he do with the tractor?

“I have no idea. I’m a bit like a dog that’s been chasing a car and when he catches up with it, he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with it. But obviously I’m not going to sell it. We might display it here on Waterfall farm where we have a farm shop.”

When Charlie won the championships he was also gifted a Deutz D15 tractor which is still sitting in the farmyard.

“That’s the next project,” his grandson said.