On September 14, 2017, the Irish Post issued a series of stamps dedicated to the National Plowing Championship. The series consists of se-tenant stamps and a miniature sheet.
The National Ploughing Championships is a huge agricultural show that takes place in different locations in Ireland every year in September. Remarkably it is one of the largest outdoor events in the world with over 1,700 exhibitors.
Everyone in Ireland appears to be aware of the Ploughing Championships and people all over the country seem to know when it is on (even those with no agricultural connections) thanks to regular media updates, news bulletins, etc. But not many know of the history of the championships – there are records of a ploughing match in Camolin Park, Wexford on October 20, 1816.
The first inter-county ploughing contest took place in 1931 as a result of an argument between two lifelong friends, Denis Allen of Gorey, Co Wexford and JJ Bergin of Athy, Co Kildare. Each argued that their respective counties had the best ploughmen. This resulted in a challenge being called for. Therefore on Monday February 16 1931, the first National Ploughing contest took place in Mr W.K. Hosie’s field at Coursetown in Athy, Co. Kildare. Many years later, in 2011, this same venue was once again host to the National Ploughing Championships.
Today, the Ploughing Championships requires over 700 acres to accommodate what has become a festival, including a tented trade village, a food fair and a craft village, fashion shows, sheepdog trials, loy digging (manual ploughing), lamb shearing and cookery demonstrations. Aside from the ploughing itself, there are exhibitions and trade stands offering everything from new cars to pet food.
This issue celebrates the unique National Ploughing Championships with two beautiful stamps designed by Ger Garland.