Thursday, September 05, 2019

FROM a green field to a small town in eight weeks – there’s trojan work being done in Ballintrane, Fenagh in recent times in the run-up to this year’s national ploughing championships.

While plans date back to last year, work commenced at the 700-acre site in July.

What started with ten workers has now grown to an army of over 100 contractors and marquee builders.

As of last Friday, 25% of the marquees were up, including the large exhibitors like Enterprise Ireland, Aldi and Lidl.

Internal trackway was to be completed yesterday (Monday), with the first display machinery arriving the same day.

There are first aid posts, an on-site hospital and, essentially, a garda station in the grounds.

‘‘We came in to a green field around 23 July and by 17 September you will have a small town,” said exhibition coordinator Sean Byrne.

The site is compared to New York to those working on it, due to its block layout.

The exhibition area takes in 200 acres alone, with a staggering 1,700 exhibitors in attendance.

There are four indoor arcades and two of these each have 117 units.

A further 500 acres is allocated to parking and the ploughing competition.

Site manager Tom Kelly said that he was satisfied with progress to date.

A new venue means everything has to planned from scratch, but Mr Kelly said there had been no major issues.

Mr Kelly has been in the role for nine years, but said it does not get any easier.

However, he added: ‘‘With the weather, everything has been coming together fairly well. In good weather, everything just works. People are going about their job happier and things are clicking together. All contractors and marquee builders are well ahead and happy enough at the moment.’’

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By Michael Tracey
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