The National Ploughing Championships 2014 kicks off today and it is anticipated that 80,000 visitors will descend on the 800-acre site in Ratheniska, Co Laois. 

Up to 200,000 visitors are expected to descend on the 800 acre site with over 1,400 stands. This makes the National Ploughing Championships the largest outdoor event in Europe and one of the largest agricultural events in the world.

According to Met Eireann, following a cloudy start today at the Ploughing it will brighten up for the afternoon with sunny breaks. Light south west winds. Highest temperatures will range from 15 to 17 degrees.

For those of you planning to make the trip to Ploughing 2014 it is vital to plan your route in advance with this in mind check out our interactive route planner here.

Facts and figures:

  • Expected crowds this year to be in excess of 200,000
  • This year, the event will take on over 800 acres of land.
  • Over 1,400 exhibitors will take stands at the event.  To put this in perspective, if a visitor was to spend one minute at each exhibitor stand, they would need to attend all three days in order to see all 1,400 stands at the event. This not including the time needed to walk between stands or break for lunch.
  • With almost all media outlets nationwide covering the event, over 400 individual journalist and media personal will attend.
  • Up to 500 temporary staff, volunteers, judges and stewards are needed to host the 2014 championships.
  • Just under 25km of track-way is needed to provide the sites internal road network. This represents nearly 10,000 individual panels.
  • With a strong emphasis on education, over 200 school tours are expected to take place at the event again this year.
  • Over the 3 days, approximately 80,000 cars are expected to travel to and from the site.
  • This year will be the 6th time the championships have been held in Laois and the 3rd time at Ratheniska.

Tuesday’s Programme of Events

Throughout the Day

Vintage Exhibition

Husqvarna Hurdle

Live Robotic Milking

Pony Games

Sheep Shearing Demos

8.00am: Trade Machinery, Livestock and General Exhibition Opens

9.30am Sheep Dog Trials Arena: Open


National Ploughing Competitions until 2.30pm
3 Furrow Conventional Match Plough Class
Standard 3 Furrow Conventional Plough Class
Under 28 Conventional Plough Class
Under 28 Reversible Plough Class
Intermediate Conventional Plough Class
Intermediate Reversible Plough Class
Under 40 Horse Plough Class
European Vintage

11.30am Fashion Show: Block 1 Row 27 Stand 424

12.00pm (noon) Bandstand: Official Opening by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and Blessing of the Grounds by the Clergy

1.00pm Sheep Dog Trials Arena: Doubles

1.30pm Fashion Show: Block 1 Row 27 Stand 424

1.30pm Aldi Stand: National Brown Bread Baking Competition Semi-Final Block 1 Row 32 Stand 556

2.00pm Sheep Dog Trials Arena: Open

3.30pm Fashion Show: Block 1 Row 27 Stand 424

5.00pm ABP/Irish Angus Beef/Kepak: Presentation to be made by Damien English TD Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation of Irish Angus calves to the finalist schools in the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition LS39

6.00pm: Ploughing Competition results announced from Bandstand

6.30pm: Exhibition closes