The sun is finally set to shine on the National Ploughing Championships this week.
Storm Ali forced the cancellation of the busiest day of the three-day agricultural fair last year due to high winds, and heavy rain flooded its Tullamore fair grounds in 2017.
But it looks like Mother Nature will be kind to more than 240,000 visitors expected at Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co Carlow, from today.
“Conditions will be ideal,” Met Éireann forecaster Vincent O’Shea told the Irish Independent.
A high-pressure system building from the Azores islands in Portugal means we can expect warm, dry and mostly sunny conditions throughout the week.
“We’ve been promising good weather for a few days now, and we are confident it will be good from Tuesday,” he said.
Despite a damp and drizzly start to the week, today heralds the beginning of above-average temperatures, light winds and mostly sunshine and variable cloud, he said. “Carlow will see above-normal sunshine, with daytime highs of up to 22C,” he added.
Even Sunday’s heavy rain was welcome as it dampened down the dust of the parched fairground fields, said Anna Marie McHugh, assistant managing director of the National Ploughing Association.
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“It’s ideal circumstances,” she said.
The recent lack of rain in the area had made the fields very dry and dusty. “But a little bit of rain here was a great thing,” she said.
The three-day event has activities starting at 9am each day until 6pm. They include machinery demonstrations, sheep-shearing, motor shows, threshing and, of course, the ploughing itself.
Gardaí have put seven different routes in place as part of their traffic management plan for the National Ploughing Championship this year; M9 Junction Five exit ramps are closed during the event.
All car park entrances and exits will be clearly marked.
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