This year’s Ploughing Championships a breath of fresh ‘eir’
Preparations for the 86th National Ploughing Championships are well underway, with more than 30km of track-ways currently being laid for the annual event in Screggan, Co. Offaly.
An additional 5km of track will be in place this year “to greatly enhance visitor experience”, according to the National Ploughing Association (NPA). The NPA has also expressed its delight to re-connect again with open eir as the communications sponsor for this year’s ploughing event.
As Europe’s largest outdoor event, according to the NPA, this is a major technical undertaking – last year’s event was attended by 283,000 visitors and this year more than 1,700 exhibitors will be present.
Anna May McHugh, NPA Managing Director, commented on the partnership, stating: “Staying connected and in touch has never been more important than in this modern age, which is why we are thrilled to renew our communications partnership with open eir.
“Improving visitor experience is always a priority for the National Ploughing Championships and this year is no exception – with open eir providing free charging units for mobile devices and wifi hotspots located throughout the site for attendees to use,” McHugh added.
Carolann Lennon, Managing Director at open eir also spoke of the matter, adding: “We are delighted to once again be the official communications partner at the 2017 National Ploughing Championships.
“The event is the highlight in the calendar for thousands of people across the country and we are very much looking forward to being a part of that; open eir has strong links with communities across rural Ireland and we continue to invest significantly in communications and broadband networks right across the country,” she noted.
Reliable high-speed broadband is crucial to the sustainability of rural Ireland and that’s why our teams are working hard to deliver world class broadband speeds.
“We understand the critical importance of broadband – for education, for families, for farming and non-farming businesses – and the benefits it brings in terms of employment and quality of life. No other operator is investing more than open eir in broadband rollout.
“We hope our sponsorship will also help improve the quality of experience for visitors through our investment in technology at the championships, including our wifi hotspots on site,” Lennon stressed.
Extended trade arena
The NPA also highlights the extended trade arena, bringing back the tented retail village – with demand necessitating the return of the ‘Dome’.
The association describes the Dome as “the biggest arcade ever, with over 120 exhibitors displaying in the one arena – plus hundreds more located in specialist pavilions”.
There has been a considerable increase in this year’s novice class, with over 20 entrants lined up – signalling a clear interest in the next generation of ploughers, the organisation has claimed.
Key aspects of the event which are returning this year include: Live Music and Dancing, Vintage Ploughing, Threshing, Sheep Dog Trials, Loy Digging, Fashion, Meggers, Sheep Shearing, Hunt Chase and Pony Games.