‘Plough Sunday’ celebrates contribution of women to Irish farming

‘Plough Sunday’, a service to celebrate the contribution of women to Irish farming at the start of the growing season, will be celebrated in Staplestown Church, Carlow Union of Parishes, on Sunday, January 28 at 3:00pm.

This year’s speaker is Lorna Sixsmith – who is a farmer, farmer’s wife, blogger, author and social media consultant.

She manages the calf rearing in the spring, blogs weekly and provides social media training throughout the year. Her books ‘Would You Marry A Farmer?’ and ‘How To Be A Perfect Farm Wife’ offer a realistic yet humorous look at life as a farming family.

Her fourth book, ‘Till the Cows Come Home: Memories of a Rural Childhood,’ will be published in May.

The Reverend David White, rector of Carlow Union of Parishes, said that harvest celebrations are one of the highlights of the calendar year in Church of Ireland parishes.

Over the past few years there has been the re-emergence of ‘Plough Sunday’ services which are a very old observance originally taking place after the 12 days of Christmas, the rector said.

Rev. White explained: “In days when work was scarce in winter, the observance looked forward to the time of sowing with the promise of a harvest to come. After all, harvest is impossible without the sowing of the seed.

“During the service itself, the plough is blessed – as representing all the work that will take place, then the seed – reflecting the growth which is hoped for, the soil – as nothing is possible without good land and finally the people of the land are blessed,” he said.

The service will take place in a Church of Ireland church, but with our Roman Catholic and Methodist neighbours and friends, since farming people know the importance of community.

“This year we decided to name the event: ‘A Service to Celebrate the Contribution of Women to Irish Farming at the Start of the Growing Season,’ and to invite Lorna Sixsmith to speak,” said Rev. White.

“She is known to so many through her realistic yet humorous books. A sense of humour is a vital part of any way of life. However, the many challenges and joys of farming can seem relentless. So, a sense of humour is not an optional extra. Your survival in the industry may depend on it.”