independent

Sunday 25 August 2019

NEW 'TOWN' ON RURAL LANDSCAPE

TOWNLAND TRANSFORMED FOR 3 DAYS

ELAINE FURLONG

THE TOWNSLAND of Heathpark has evolved over the past two months into a new town on the rural Wexford landscape.

David O'Dwyer, the main landowner hosting this year's National Ploughing Championships, summed up the transformation onsite when he addressed last Wednesday night's final public meeting in the Horse and Hound, Ballinaboola.

'It is such a great thrill to see what has been going on onsite since the Bank Holiday Weekend in August,' said David. 'What started out as a townsland has been transformed into a big town. It has always been known as the townsland of Heathpark but for the three days of the ploughing it will be known as a town'.

Adjoining landowner Peter Kehoe, whose lands are also playing host to the internationally renowned event, told the meeting that the past number of weeks has seen a great air of excitement take over the locality as people eagerly anticipate the staging of the championships and the influx of in excess of 180,000 visitors to Heathpark.

'It is great to see so much excitement in the area. There is a great buzz around,' said Peter. ' To have the National Ploughing Championships come here is a dream. I hope everyone will have a great time'.

Parish Priest Fr. Michael Byrne, who is involved in one of the many groups behind the organisation of the event, said the Parish of Cushinstown is also thrilled to welcome such a high profile event.

'We thank the National Ploughing Association for coming to Wexford and in particular to Cushinstown,' said Fr. Byrne.

'I know we will have a wonderful time'.

Sure to add greatly to the atmosphere this year, is the success last week of the Irish Team at the World Ploughing Championships, where Eamonn Tracey from Co. Carlow won silver and where Jer Coakley from Co. Cork was named the Best Newcomer in Reversible Ploughing.

The lady at the helm of the entire operation, Anna Mai McHugh, told the meeting that this success in Croatia will add a further boost to this year's ploughing championships.

Champion Wexford Ploughman John Whelan, who is the Wexford representative on the National Council paid tribute to everyone, who are working together with the one aim in mind.

'It is great to see everyone here contributing to make this a special occasion...We will all try make this a wonderful and exciting event,' he added.

'It is a great team effort,' said Chairperson of the NPA, James Sutton, who praised the enormous good will evident from everyone in the locality. 'It has been a huge project,' he added.

'It is wonderful for Wexford and for the local economy. When an event like this comes to the area it gives a great uplift to the area...I wish everyone in New Ross and Wexford the very best. It is a wonderful site, the exhibitors have put in huge effort and we hope it will be a very memorable event next week,' added Mr. Sutton.

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