Many farm families from Northern Ireland will be travelling to the National Ploughing Championships in Co. Laois next week for three days of competitive ploughing, viewing trade stands and activities.

Now regarded as Europe’s largest outdoor event, preparations are being finalised at the site at Ratheniska, Co. Laois for the three-day event from Tuesday, September 20 to Thursday, September 22, with the event normally attracting in excess of 300,000 people.

Not only will the normal championships take place,but Ireland will be hosting the 67th World Ploughing Contest this year.

World Ploughing Organization General Secretary, Anna Marie McHugh, said: “It is a massive honour for Ireland to welcome international delegations and their supporters from 28 countries all around the globe, where the very best plough men and women in the world will be battling it out to be crowned ‘World Champion’.

“International teams have been arriving for the past few weeks.”

There will be millions of euro-worth of agricultural and plant machinery on display, featuring an extensive range of cutting-edge agricultural technology and equipment, with the opportunity to see these in action in the machinery demonstration area.

The leading manufacturers and agents will be present with specialist sales advisors and technical experts available for free consultations. 

There is a major traffic plan in place for the event with the following directions in place for those travelling from the north-west and north.

Green route – Traffic from the West/North West

• Traffic travelling from the west on the N80 will proceed to Mountmellick town. Approaching the town, traffic will take a left onto the L20972, continuing on this road to take a right onto the L423.

Traffic will join the R422 and travel as far as Kennels Cross, Emo, Co. Laois.

At Kennels Cross, traffic will turn right onto R419, and travel forward to the R445 (Old Dublin Road), turning right and proceed towards Portlaoise.

In Kilminchy, Portlaoise traffic will turn left for approx. 200 metres and then turn right at Rathbrennan onto the R425, travelling forward to Bloomfield Cross.

• At Bloomfield Cross, traffic will turn left onto N80 and proceed to Dysart, where it will turn right onto a one-way system along the L6772 as far as Ratheniska village. Traffic will proceed to parking beside the event grounds.

Parking: Patrons travelling this route will park in the designated Green car parks near the Church at Ratheniska Village near event grounds. 

Purple route – Traffic from Dublin/Leinster/North

• Traffic travelling southbound on the M7 will exit at Junction 15 Cappakeel, Co. Laois and proceed left onto the L3930, where it will travel to Vicarstown. In Vicarstown, it will turn right onto R427 and travel to Stradbally, Co. Laois.

In Stradbally, traffic will turn right on the N80 for approx. 400 metres and will then turn left at Abels Corner onto the R427. Traffic will proceed to parking beside the event grounds.

Parking: Patrons travelling this route will park in the designated Purple car parks on the left- and right-hand side of the R427, just beside the event grounds at Ratheniska.