Anna May ‘ploughs’ ahead with long-awaited book

Legendary National Ploughing Association (NPA) boss Anna May McHugh is writing a book that is due for publication in September.

McHugh’s name is synonymous with ‘the Ploughing’ – the annual championship of the NPA.

She has worked with the association for 65 years and served as its secretary from 1952 until 1973, when she was appointed to the role of managing director.

In that time, the National Ploughing Championship has gone from having 25 exhibitors to becoming Europe’s largest agricultural trade exhibition.

Last year, it hosted 1,700 exhibitors and 283,000 visitors over three days.

McHugh, who has won numerous awards over the years, has been acclaimed as the dynamic driving force behind the event’s spectacular growth.

Born in Ballylinan, Co Laois, she is one of eight children and grew up helping out on the family farm.

In 1966, she married John McHugh, also a farmer. They have two children – DJ and Anna Marie, who also works with the NPA.

McHugh, who still lives near Ballylinan, said: “I have been asked many times down through the years ‘When are you writing the book?’ so it has been a long time coming.

This is my 66th year working for the National Ploughing Association and I have lived through many changes and challenges in life, business and society.

“I am enjoying writing my story as it evokes so many memories and I hope readers will find that it’s worth the read.”

Michael McLoughlin, of publisher Penguin Ireland, said: “It is an honour to publish Anna May McHugh’s autobiography.

“Anna May is one of the most impressive business people in Ireland today and has been a dominant figure in Irish rural life for decades. I anticipate that there will be huge interest in this book.”

The book will be priced at €25 in hardback.

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