All systems are go for ploughing
OVER 180,000 visitors will be making their way to Heathpark outside New Ross from today (Tuesday) for the National Ploughing Championships.
Despite a mixed weather forecast, numbers won't be affected by any inclement weather, according to the National Ploughing Association.
'Weather doesn't affect this event. It is normal to have rain for the ploughing - it's a plus to have fine weather,' said an NPA spokesperson.
President Michael D Higgins will officially open the event at noon today on the 700 acre site, owned by well-known local farmers David O'Dwyer and Peter Kehoe. Traditionally, the first day is the busiest day of the championships. Last year 90,000 visitors passed through the gates on the opening day. PLAN YOUR journey well in advance and allow plenty of time.
That is the advice of Gardai as they prepare to deal with a huge influx of motorists on Wexford's roads from today (Tuesday) as tens of thousands of visitors converge on Heathpark for the National Ploughing Championships.
Addressing last Wednesday night's public meeting in the Horse and Hound, Inspector Pat McDonald outlined the extensive work that has gone into the traffic management plan. Some 200 Gardai will be drafted into the New Ross area for the three days to ensure the traffic flows.
'Plan your journey well in advance,' advised the Inspector. 'Plan what you are going to do and give yourself plenty of time,' he added. 'With any event of this nature you can expect delays. You have to be patient'.
Motorists will be directed to the venue from any one of five routes - depending on which part of the country they are travelling from.
Gardai are urging them to follow the signs and the signals of stewards and Gardaí to the nearest designated car park.
The details of each route are as follows: Route 1 (Blue): Traffic from Munster and South Kilkenny will travel via the Waterford bypass on the N25 towards New Ross, cross O'Hanrahan Bridge in New Ross, proceed along the quay on the N25 eastbound to Ballinaboola, turn left in Ballinaboola and access the Blue Car Parks on the right. Route 2 (Orange): Traffic from Connacht and the Midlands will travel via Kilkenny and Thomastown. Traffic entering Kilkenny will be directed to the Ring Road and proceed to the Bennettsbridge Road roundabout ( junction with the R700), proceed on the R700 through Bennettsbridge, Thomastown and Inistioge to New Ross, where they will cross the Ferrybridge turning left onto the N30 (eastbound), proceed on N30 and follow the directional signs to access the Orange Car Parks. Route 3 (Green): Traffic from North West and Midlands will travel via Carlow or the M9 motorway. Traffic travelling on the M9 will exit at Junction 5 (Carlow) onto the N80 Enniscorthy Road. Traffic travelling from the midlands to Carlow will follow signs to the N80 Bunclody/Enniscorthy Road, will proceed to Bunclody turning right onto the R746, follow signs to the junction with the N30 (Enniscorthy to New Ross Road) at Ballymackesy cross, at Ballymackesy cross turn right onto the N30, proceed through Clonroche village taking a left turn towards Heathpark and follow signs to the Green Car Parks. Route 4 (Purple): Traffic from Dublin, Northern Ireland via Belfast/ Newry, Wicklow. Traffic travelling on the M11/N11 southbound will proceed on the N11, through Ferns and Enniscorthy following the signs for Wexford, at Ballindinas roundabout ( at Wexford town), take the third exit onto the N25 towards New Ross, turn right at Carrickbyrne before the Garda Station and follow signs to the Purple Car Parks. Route 5 (Yellow): Traffic from South Wexford (South of the N25) should proceed via Wellingtonbridge or the Duncannon Line to the villages of Ballinaboola or Newbawn and follow signage to access the Yellow Car Parks. In New Ross Town specifically, there will be a number of restrictions in place to deal with the influx of traffic.
In the event of severe difficulties in New Ross, which causes a back log of traffic, small vehicular traffic will be diverted up Quay Street, North Street, Cherry's Road, Knockavilla, the Irishtown and out through Ryleen into Old Ross.
Approaching the site, designated privately operated car parking is provided adjacent to the event site on all approved routes and parking is free.
No roadside parking will be permitted at any time and vehicles parked on the approach roads are liable to be towed away.
Three designated areas will be set aside for coach parking, while vehicles displaying valid passes issued by the Irish Wheelchair Association will be permitted to park in the allocated parking areas which are designated in the Blue, Yellow and Purple car parks.
Inspector Pat McDonald has paid tribute Superintendant Aidan Brennan, Sgt. Mark Mills and to Carrigbyrne based Gardai Paul Ryan and Peter Buttle for their work in compiling the plan. He also complimented the local people for all the sacrifices they have made in the preparation and staging of the event.