All set for the 2022 event. Photo: Alf Harvey
The National Ploughing Championships is a three day celebration of country life that usually attracts in excess of 300,000 people each year.
It makes a welcome return to Ratheniska in Laois this week, after Covid-19 put recent year's events on hold.
While people from all walks of life attend the event, it can be a challenge for townies to blend in at the ploughing.
However it is possible for townies to mingle in seamlessly with rural crowd. All you have to do is take note of the following advice.
1 - If you are travelling to the National Ploughing Championships in a jeep or an SUV, make sure it's not clean. Ideally you should stick some straw in the wheel wells and drive through a field before you get there.
2 - Do not wear colourful wellies. Keep them for the Electric Picnic. Ideally all wellies should be black but you can get away with dark green. CATs will work also.
3 - Denim is always a good choice but wear a check shirt and you will blend in perfectly.
4 - If you overhear someone talking about New Holland, don't ask them how their holidays went.
5 - If a salesman tries to convince you to buy a tractor fold your arms and nod knowingly. When he finishes speaking and is waiting for your response, if the tractor is red say, "I think I'll stick with the Ford." If the tractor is blue say, "I think I'll stick with the Massey." If the tractor is any other colour, either response will do.
6 - If you get stuck talking to a rural type you don't know, the weather is always a good fall back or if you feel really adventurous go with, "the evenings are bet."
7 - If you see lads and ladies pulling metal things behind a tractor who look like they are digging up a field for no reason, you've strayed into the actual ploughing.
8 - If you see a line of farmers outside a tent, get into it quickly. Farmers can spot a freebie from a different county.
9 - If you see a lad with a stick in his hand and possibly a jersey and you are wondering why people are taking endless selfies with him, that's probably Lar Corbett. It used to be Joe Canning, but Canning Hurls closed due to ongoing supply chain difficulties. It won't be the same without him at the stand this year.
10 - If it starts to rain do not under any circumstances put up an umbrella. That's a sign of weakness. Just put up your collar, put your hands in your pockets and say to anyone you pass with a nod of the head, "soft day."
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