Going to “the Ploughing” is an Irish institution, but something that for one reason or another I had never done until today.
You’ll find all the official information here but here’s my quick (and muddled) post of highlights for us today.
We approached on the purple route via Wexford town, and made easy progress.The scarecrows that pop out in various places as you approach Adamstown village and on towards Raheen gave a lovely welcome.
Entry to the carpark was well signposted so there was no fear of getting lost, and it was about a seven minute walk to the entrance. The car park was quite muddy leaving but there was mulch down in a lot of places. The weather was miserable, but a lot of the exhibitions are indoors so there is respite from the cold, driving rain.
What’s to See and Do- the Highlights
(photos are all iphone in the rain so the quality is poor)
Watching the bees making honey at the Irish Beekeeping stand (Row J)
Farm machinery – loads of it. The JCB stand was a favourite with our digger-obsessed two year old. The four year old preferred the dizzying heights of the combine harvester.
Food – so many good bits that that I’ve done a separate list below.
TV and Radio – we saw live radio and TV in the RTE tent, and we also noticed Newstalk, Beat, South East Radio and WLR on site.
Waterford City had an excellent display with real Vikings and a Viking ship (and a competition to win a break in Waterford)
Eirgrid had interesting sciencey displays.
(I will link all of these later)
Eating – there are lots of fast food options, chips, noodles, burgers, sandwiches, didn’t see much haute cuisine, but what do you expect, it’s not Electric Picnic 🙂
The supermarkets have approached the Ploughing differently so it was interesting to see the results:
Supervalu– have a competition to win your shopping for a year and Kevin Dundon demos, swish corner site, fairly quiet.
Lidl – have a small amount of samples and demos- their Brand Ambassador Paul Flynn of The Tannery in Dungarvan was there today but we had to make do with his cardboard cutout as we missed him. The tent was fairly quiet too but we missed the demos.
Aldi– this was the busiest tent I was in, arm to arm combat, people pushing and shoving me and the two year old to get free yogurt! Free samples of food combined with the chance to win a Kia Sportage made it very popular. I did get to chat to some of the Aldi producers including the ladies from Monaghan Coop and the producer of the Ardagh Extra Mature cheddar and Aldi used the opportunity to build on their current advertising campaign which emphasises their Irish producers.
Tesco showcase their suppliers too with free samples of (among others) Gubeen cheese, Jameson hot whiskies, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Bulmers, Anna Harvey cakes, Athenry Food. Keelings were brave to be handing out samples of strawberries in the strawberry heartland.
Other food –
Good Food Ireland tent- featuring Silver Hill Duck, Goatsbridge trout and many more.
O’Donnells Crisps (my favourite) have filled the cab of a tractor with crisps
Irish Pride bread were handing out hot toast, Glenilen Farm had a gorgeous stand, Ballymaloe were right next to them, Wild About were hidden away in the South East Enterprise tent, Lyons Tea, Bradys’ Ham had a very cool tent with thatched roof, Kelkin were giving out samples of an energy drink that was over 18s only much to the disgust of my thirsty four year old, Knorr were trying to keep up with the demand for their hot soup and gravy with mash on such a miserable wet day. The Amber Springs Hotel (where our book club meets) had samples of beef stew that was very welcome on such a cold and wet day.
O’Neill’s Dry Cure Bacon get a special mention, absolutely delicious rashers, based out of Ferns, Co. Wexford and they have recently launched new packaging which has a lovely traditional feel (see pic below).
Toilets aren’t signposted especially well but they’re near the Catering Blocks.
Remember where you came in, the exits aren’t marked from the central areas, but there are maps around.
Wear your wellies and bring dry clothes or at least socks for the car
The RTE tent had free rain ponchos so if you’re wet make your way there.
The main routes have boardwalks down so mud isn’t a problem on them but getting around the displays will have you muddy
There are are baby changing and feeding facilities in the Mothers’ Union stand in row R between the stage and Lidl.
Other more Personal Highlights
Watching Aileen playing the harp on stage for President Higgins
Watching the live radio and TV in the RTE tent
Visiting our college friend Adrian in his Oaktree Financial “marquee” for biscuits and lollies (Row J)
and leaving the best til last….meeting (accosting!) Camogie All-Ireland winning champion manager JJ Doyle and captain Karen Atkinson with the O’Duffy All Ireland Camogie Cup.