‘Make hay while the sun shines’ in Trim this weekend

The Trim Haymaking Festival will take place this weekend on Sunday, June 18, in Porchfield, Trim, Co. Meath. Set up on the grounds of Trim Castle – where the famous film ‘Braveheart’ was shot – an action-packed rural showcase is promised.

The centre-piece of the festival – the haymaking – is carried out in three different manners: by horse, by tractor and by hand. The hand cutting will be done through the historical method of scything down the hay – and will feature a scythe-cutting competition, one of the main competitions on the day.

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According to one of the organisers of the event, Frank O’Sullivan, the festival really looks into sport and culture of years gone by, celebrating the methods of old.

It is a very informative day and details the local history of the area, highlighting the impact of the Land Commission in the late 19th and 20th centuries. “It shows the movement of farmers to Meath; the ancestors of many current Meath farmers actually came from the west of Ireland,” O’Sullivan noted.

There is a matchmaking occasion taking place during the festival – the ‘Roll in the Hay’ competition, where young men and women, sometimes complete strangers, are paired together and sent on an obstacle course with various challenges.

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In addition to the more obvious aspects of the day, there are some other interesting elements such as the sheaf-tossing competition. In this contest, a sheaf of hay is tossed by fork over a crossbar of varying heights.

The current champion, Michael O’Brien – who has represented Ireland at competitions in France and Australia, and set a Guinness world record with a toss measuring 63ft – will be trying to break his record on the day.

There will be a vintage machinery show, showcasing haymaking implements and tractors of old.

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The festival also features a wide range of other activities including a pet farm, a donkey derby and a goat and pygmy goat show – the latter of which is particularly popular, O’Sullivan added.

O’Sullivan described the festival, with its central location, as a place where rural meets urban, and the latter gets to understand a little about farming – both modern and historical.

Summing it up, O’Sullivan concluded: “It’s a family event where kids get to play in the fields and enjoy the Trim sunshine in the same manner as was done 100 years ago – rolling back the years.”

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