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Luck of the Irish - Ireland’s biggest agricultural festival hosts record numbers

Luck of the Irish - Ireland’s biggest agricultural festival hosts record numbers

Better Farming goes abroad, experiences the National Ploughing Championships

By Kate Ayers

Staff Reporter

Despite the rain, the National Ploughing Championships drew a record crowd in September.

“It rained from start to finish on day two, and there was flooding in some areas. (But the rain) didn’t bother me, nor the near 90,000 visitors that day,” Paul Nolan, publisher and editorial director of Better Farming, said today.  

“Folks wore their ‘wellies’ and rain ponchos, and it was another terrific ploughing day!”

Ireland’s Ploughing Championships is Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and agricultural trade show.

Over 110,000 visitors made their way around the plough competition on day one.

The championships were held in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Event organizers welcomed nearly 300,000 visitors and over 1,700 exhibitors.

“The enthusiasm and numbers of farm visitors was incredible to me. I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” said Nolan.

Ireland’s biggest agricultural festival featured Irish food, farming and culture. The event has an economic impact of over €35 million annually.

The exhibition arena covered almost 2 million square feet. Over 300 competitors participated in the ploughing championships. Attendees watched tractor, horse and vintage ploughing. They explored a broad range of forestry, livestock, machinery, agri-business and health and wellness exhibitor displays.

The Innovation Arena, hosted by Enterprise Ireland, showcased ground-breaking agricultural businesses. The best agri-tech companies in the country competed for awards and funding, while showing their products to potential buyers from around the world.

“I spent an entire day in the Innovation Arena. (It was) such a great experience meeting the people and seeing the technology behind all the innovation happening with the involvement of Enterprise Ireland,” Nolan explained.

Irish innovation and inspiration. Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, speaking at the Innovation Arena. 

The total prize fund exceeded €80,000 and there were 11 award categories. This year’s categories and winners were:

Overall Winner - Solar Pump Solutions

Young Innovator - Bryan Davis of Solar Pump Solutions

Agri-Engineering Start-UP - Remote Signals Ltd

Agri-Engineering Large Established Company - Keenan (an Alltech company)

Agri-Engineering SME - Samco Agricultural Manufacturing Ltd

Agri-Technology Start-Up - OneClick Accounts

Agri-Technology Established Company - Equilume

Agri-Environmental - Ozone Industries

Research Emerging from Third Level - DIT Hothouse

Safety Award - Safe Shaft Systems

International Award - Agrispeed Ltd