Latest: National Ploughing Championships extended to Friday

Latest: The National Ploughing Championships will now go ahead on Friday to make up for today’s cancellation.

The event in Screggan, Co Offaly had to be called off due to the bad weather caused by Storm Ali.

Tents and hoarding at the site have been damaged because of the high winds.

Organisers say it will go ahead tomorrow and also on Friday as a result.

Storm damage at the National Ploughing Championships at Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Pic: Dan Linehan

Earlier: National Ploughing Championships exploring idea of extra day after second day cancelled

Organisers of the National Ploughing Championships are exploring the idea of an extra day.

It comes after the decision was made to call off the farming festival today due for safety reasons due to the severe weather conditions brought by Storm Ali.

"All tickets for today will be valid for tomorrow," said Anna Marie McHugh, Assistant Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association.

"We are in conversation at the minute with all the service.

"So we're talking to see how they feel about an extra day."

Earlier: The National Ploughing Championships in Co Offaly have been called off for today because of Storm Ali.

Organisers say they deeply regret the decision but it had to be made for safety reasons.

The farming festival is due to go ahead tomorrow and people can use their tickets from today.

Storm damage to the exhibitor stands at the National Ploughing Championships at Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Picture Dan Linehan

As soon as the cancellation was announced, people rushed to their cars – as a result, traffic is very heavy trying to leave the venue.

This is only the second time weather has affected the ploughing, in 1965 the event had to be postponed for a week because of snow.

And after a year of extreme conditions for farmers, it is yet another blow for the sector.

Queues waiting to get access to National Ploughing Championships. Pic; Dan Linehan

Update: The second day of the National Ploughing Championships has been delayed further due to Storm Ali.

It was due to open around 11am but organisers are still meeting to assess the situation.

A final call on whether the event will go ahead today will be made at midday.

ESB crews are working on restoring power as up to 140,000 homes and businesses are without power.

Fallen trees on overhead lines are the main issue following high winds.

Earlier: The National Ploughing Championships in Co Offaly will start two hours later than usual this morning because of the windy weather.

Organisers have been forced to delay opening the gates for health and safety reasons.

Organisers of the event said the structures on site are sound but this is an extra precautionary measure as the worst of the weather is from 8 until about 10am.

The farming festival will stay open an extra hour this evening because of the late start.

Today sees the Best Dressed Country Style ladies competition at the ploughing.

The prize includes 7,000 and a luxury holiday in Abu Dhabi.

Anna Marie McHugh from the National Ploughing Championships outlines what the judges will be looking out for.

She said: "It's really taking the conditions into account, somebody in high-heels is not going to win it.

"If you've got your country jacket, checked jacket and a nice pair of boots rather than even wellies, or a nice kind of wax hat with a feather in it - it's about who's most creative.

"Definitely not a sundress - it might be the nicest sundress ever, but that's not going to win it."

It is only the second time in the Ploughings 87 year history that weather has forced this to happen.

In 1965 it was postponed for a week because of snow.

Yesterday more than 97,000 people attended the first day of the Championships so it remains to be seen if the winds will put people off today.

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Organisers are keen to stress it will be business as usual once the gates open at 11am and the worse of the weather has passed.

Several cabinet ministers along with the leaders of Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein are due to attend.

The Taoiseach had to cancel though as he has to travel to an EU summit in Austria

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