The National Ploughing Championships this morning have gotten under way in Ratheniska, Co Laois, on a much scaled-back level.
On the 90th anniversary of the popular event, the executive decided this year that they could not host the trade exhibition element, or the world ploughing contest, due to uncertainty over ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
The championships are not open to the general public, which means the almost 100,000 people per day which attended the 2019 event in Co Carlow, the site at Ratheniska is limited to 1,000 people per day for the three days, including participants.
It will be a return to the old days in terms of the competition with over 20 classes of ploughing events, which means the focus will be purely on what made the event in the first place.
The cutbacks will also mean that there is no boost to the economy, which is estimated to be worth about €50 million a year but the organisers have vowed to return to Ratheniska in 2022 when they hope conditions will allow for a larger event.
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