By Joe Barrett and Suzanne Pender
SPECULATION is rife this week about the location for the 2021 World Ploughing Championships, with an official announcement expected to be made on Thursday.
Up to 400,000 people are expected to descend on the 350-acre site required for the event in September 2021, which will incorporate both the national and world ploughing championships, bringing with it a major boost to the local economy.
However, despite Co Carlow missing out on the 2020 event due to Covid-19, it does not mean that the 2021 event will automatically return to Ballintrane, Fenagh.
In fact, sources in Co Laois indicate that Ratheniska is currently the frontrunner for the world event, having previously hosted the national ploughing championships from 2013 to 2015.
When contacted about speculation that the four-day event will be held in the Ratheniska area, assistant managing director of the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and secretary of the World Ploughing Organisation Anna Marie McHugh declined to comment, only to say that an executive meeting will be held this Thursday, when the official announcement will be made.
Asked to comment on whether the competition will be held in and around the Ratheniska site, Ms McHugh said: “I can’t say until Thursday.”
Pressed again as to which county will host the four-day event, she said: “It could be Offaly, Laois or Carlow.”
When the National Ploughing Championships were held in Ratheniska, the association’s managing director Anna May McHugh made it known that she would love to host the world championships in her home county of Laois in 2021.