1) The flyers go up. There’s nothing more exciting than going to your local pub/chipper/shop and seeing that your local bus driver has a bus heading to the Ploughing. €30 RETURN and it’s ALL the way to Offaly. What could possibly go wrong with being up at 5am to avail of such a service?
2) Ag-Science annual trip. First day back at school and the teacher is already asking for the deposit money for the annual trip. You simply can’t wait to don your best wellies and hit the field with your best guys and gals to look at some fine machinery… and ploughing of course.
3) Avid following of the news and weather. It’s important to know what the weather forecast is. I mean, what if you forget a suitable jacket? However, you can always be assured that the media will cover every aspect needed, and there’s usually a spare poncho lying around.
4) Food prep. What Irish person would realistically leave the house without enough food to feed half the nation? This will include a flask of tae, some hang-sandwiches, a trusty bag of Taytos and maybe even a pack of chocolate biscuits for good measure. These may be often packed in a sliced pan bag and you’ll be sure to take a break on the way up to eat them out of the boot of the car.
5) The drive up. Whether it be the bus, train, car or walking (you’re that dedicated), the trip up will lead to some stress at some point. Your bladder will feel like it may explode multiple times, you have taken the wrong exit from the motorway and you can’t find your way back and you’re now running low on petrol.
6) Celebrity spotting. You did not just see Marty Morrissey. Could it really be? Can you say hi or will he think you’re some eejit? After a bit of staring and pointing with your friends, you finally pluck up the courage and head on over. You’re sure to get a good response from a picture with him on Facebook and you do need to know his opinion on the All-Ireland matches.
7) The machinery. The day is progressing and you can’t help but take a picture with that fantastic Massey Ferguson 8737 (maybe give a tyre a kick for good measure). You may never get the chance again and you soon find yourself enthralled looking at balers that you probably won’t ever buy, but you can always dream, right?
8) Stocking up on stationery. You will talk to anyone to snatch a pen, ruler, highlighter, free lollipop – you name it. You are willing to talk about roof tiles or a power drill if it means you can get some freebie. It’s an added bonus when you get a nice drawstring bag to put it all into with all the brochures you’re sure to look at once you’re home, right?
9) Trying to find the car. You are certain you parked it in J, how could it not be here? Who knew there were so many silver Opel Astras? You pace the site in desperation to find the car before the sun goes down. Two hours later you come across it and want to cry in happiness. This is the moment where you take a mental note to take down the car park number for next year. You inevitably forget to do so the following year.
10) Discussing the events of the day. “Did you see PJ? He’s looking well isn’t he?”
“The way machinery has come on is really something else.”
“But did you see Marty? Such a nice man, isn’t he?”
This often begs the question; did anyone actually see any ploughing? Ah well, there’s always next year.
Kerrywoman Rachel Hussey is currently in exile in the UK where she has secured a good steady job as a primary school teacher. The geography enthusiast knows a good soil sample and can tell her Limousins from her Belgian Blues.