Weather warning as thousands gather for Ploughing Championships25/09/2012 - 07:03:29
A 700-acre site will be transformed in to the hub of agricultural and rural life when the National Ploughing Championships opens.
Up to 190,000 people are expected to throng Heathpark in New Ross, Co Wexford, over the next three days.
Machinery, livestock, food and fashion will be among the highlights of the event, which has become the largest of its kind in Europe.
Motorists are warned to take extra care after heavy rainfall and wind along the east coast, with spectators, exhibitors and competitors urged to dress for the weather.
It will be officially opened by President Michael D Higgins at noon.
The first inter-county ploughing contest took place in 1931 to settle an argument between two lifelong friends, Denis Allen of Gorey in Wexford and JJ Bergin of Athy, Co Kildare. Both men argued their respective counties had the best ploughmen.
Since then the championships have grown from a small field of 26 acres to 700 acres of land.
Some 220 acres will be used for ploughing competitions, 80 for trade stands and exhibitions, 25 acres for demonstrations, with a massive 400 acre car park left for the 60,000 plus cars expected.
Elsewhere caterers estimate 150,000 bottles of minerals and 50,000 cups of tea and coffee will be drunk, 15 tonnes of beef consumed, 22 tonnes of Irish potatoes will be used, and up to 25,000 breakfasts/breakfast rolls will be sold over the three days.
Gardaí said a full traffic management plan is on its website, and on the National Ploughing Association website.
Patrons are advised to plan their route and to leave plenty of time for their journey as delays are anticipated on all approaches.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will have an interactive shuttle and roll-over simulator at the event.
Noel Brett, chief executive, said it is important everyone stays safe on the roads, particularly as motorists get closer to Wexford where traffic will be very heavy.
“Leave yourself plenty of time to get there and practise safe driving behaviour at all times,” he said.
“This means never driving if you have consumed alcohol, always driving at a safe speed and always ensuring you and your passengers are wearing their seatbelts.”
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