It’s that time of year again to pack the sandwiches and flasks of tea, as The National Ploughing Championships returns from Tues 20th until Thurs 22nd Sept. The event is Ireland and Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and Agricultural Trade Show, with some of the finest food, machinery, farming attire and of course ploughing, around.
Now its 85th year, some 281,000 people attended last year’s event, and similar numbers are expected this year in Screggan outside Tullamore.
As always, with a large crowd comes high volumes of traffic. Whether you are travelling by private or public transport, we have all the information you need to make getting to/from the event as easy as putting on a pair of wellies (just don’t do so while driving).
How much are tickets?
Day tickets at the gate cost €20 for an adult and €15 for students and seniors. If you pre-order your tickets, students can avail of a €10 ticket and orders of 10 tickets or more get a 10% discount. To book your tickets and for more information, click here.
What can I expect at the Ploughing?
The site opens between 9am and 6:30pm each day with the actual Ploughing Championships taking place between 10:30am and 2:30pm daily. A full schedule of events can be found here, but here are a few of the highlights:
Tuesday in Screggan is set to be a vibrant day with a vintage display, sheep shearing demos, a lifestyle village and a funfair just some of the highlights. The sheep dog trials also take place today and if you’re looking for something different, tractor football kicks off at lunchtime. The first day of the Ploughing will bring famous faces: President Michael D Higgins and singer Derek Ryan among the special guests.
On Wednesday, there will be craft and cookery demos, a fashion show and the semi-finals of the National Brown Bread Baking Competition. Today, you could even come home with the most prized possession of all – the award for Most Appropriately Dressed. Just because it’s the second day of the Ploughing, doesn’t mean it’s short of celebs. Singer Derek Ryan will be still on site and there will even be a presentation of calves to students by Miriam O’Callaghan.
The final day of the championships, Thursday, is equally as energetic as the previous two. Live robotic milking and international exhibits are just some of the highlights. There will be more fashion shows and tractor football going on and entertainment will come from a wide variety of acts including Entertainer Rock on Paddy. Of course, the National Brown Bread Baking Competition Final takes place too and this day sees the whole week come to a climax when the Ploughing Competition results are announced from 6pm.
What services are on site for Visitors?
There are a plethora of services available for all visitors. These include:
Routes to the venue are divided into colours depending on what part of the country you are travelling from. It’s worth noting too that the N52 Mucklagh Bypass will be closed from Thursday 19th until approx. 6pm on Friday 23rd September.
BLUE ROUTE – Traffic from Cork/ Munster
Traffic travelling northbound on the M8 will exit at Junction 6 Thurles and on towards Thurles before heading towards Birr on the N62. There, traffic will join the N52 and travel north to the event site at Screggan.
Parking: Patrons on this route will park in the designated BLUE car parks on the left and right hand side next to the event grounds.
GREY ROUTE – Traffic from South East/ Kilkenny
Traffic travelling from Kilkenny or the South East will travel north along the N77 via Abbeyleix to Portlaoise. It will then be directed through Clonminham and onto the N80 to Mountmellick. It will then take the Clonaslee Rd (R422) and Killurin Rd (R421) before being directed to the event site at Screggan.
Parking: Patrons on this route will park in the designated GREY car parks beside the event grounds at Screggan.
YELLOW ROUTE – Traffic from the South East (Carlow)
Traffic from Carlow and the south east will travel on the N80 towards Portlaoise. At the Bloomfield roundabout, traffic will travel north through Rathbrennan towards the Heath and turn-off at the Wheel Inn pub (sign-posted Portarlington). It will then travel towards Mountmellick and onto Tullamore via Killeigh.
Parking: Patrons on this route will park in the designated YELLOW car parks beside the event grounds at Screggan.
BROWN ROUTE- Traffic from Limerick, Kerry and Southwest
Traffic travelling northbound on the M7 will exit at Junction 26 Nenagh West and travel along the N52 towards Borrisokane. In Borrisokane, traffic will take the N65 towards Portumna and then the Cloghan Rd (R438). In Cloghan, turn right to the event (R357).
Parking: Those on this route will park in the designated BROWN car parks beside the event grounds at Screggan.
PURPLE ROUTE- Traffic from Dublin
Traffic from Dublin should use the M4/M6 westbound and exit at Junction 5 Tullamore. You’ll then head onto the N52 towards Tullamore. Traffic will then travel via Durrow (you’ll pass by the GAA Pitch), the Clara/ Tullamore Rd (R420) and then get the shuttle service to the site.
Parking: Patrons on this route will park in the designated PURPLE car park.
PINK ROUTE – Traffic from the North
Traffic from the North will travel via Mullingar and onto the N52 towards Tyrellspass. It will travel to Kilbeggan via the Old N6 (R446), onto the Clara Rd (R436), the local Durrow Rd (L2009) and then join the Tullamore/ Clara Rd (R420). At Coolnahiley, traffic will be directed to parking beside the event grounds.
Parking: Patrons travelling this route will park in the designated PINK car parks beside the event grounds at Screggan.
GREEN ROUTE – Traffic from the West
Traffic travelling from the west will exit the M6 motorway at Junction 6 Moate East towards Moate. It will then travel via the Ballycumber Rd and join the Ballycumber/ Clara Rd (R436) towards Rahan before being directed onto the local Mucklagh Rd (L2011) towards the event site.
Parking: Patrons travelling this route will park in the designated GREEN car parks on the right hand side of the local Mucklagh Rd (L2011) just beside the event grounds at Screggan.
ORANGE ROUTE – Traffic from Kildare/ Junction 15 Ballybrittas (M7)
Traffic travelling Southbound along the M7 Motorway will exit at Junction 15 Ballybrittas and onto the Old Dublin Road (R445). It will then travel through Emo Village and onto Cloneygowan Village. Traffic will then travel towards Tullamore (R420) to the event site.
Parking: Patrons travelling this route will park in the designated ORANGE car parks.
There are plenty of options if you’re looking to leave the car behind. Iarnród Éireann provide regular services to Tullamore via the Dublin to Galway/ Westport line. From the train station, Bus Eireann will be providing a frequent shuttle service to/from the site at Screggan each day. The last bus from Tullamore station is at 11am and the last return is 6pm.
The below services run every day of the Ploughing:
Further details are available on irishrail.ie. There will be constant bus returns to Tullamore station. They depart from 3pm every day of the show.
Bus Éireann also run a regular service to Tullamore and nearby towns. For more details, check out their website.
A number of private bus companies will also be providing services to/ from the site for the duration of the event.