Horse ploughing at Ballycastle

Sean Cassley from Armoy putting in a bit of practice for this years St. Patricks Day Horse Ploughing match at Ballycastle, getting assistance here from his dad Gerard, who will also be ploughing on the day as well.
Sean Cassley from Armoy putting in a bit of practice for this years St. Patricks Day Horse Ploughing match at Ballycastle, getting assistance here from his dad Gerard, who will also be ploughing on the day as well.

Its usually the warm sunny days of summer that attract people to the seaside around Ballycastle on the north Antrim Coast, but there is an event that always takes place there each year during the early days of spring that also brings visitors in big numbers.

That’s on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, when the Ballycastle and District Horse Ploughing Society stages its annual horse ploughing match, an event that has been going there for well over 100 years.

The ploughing will begin at 11am, and there will be a Clydesdale Horse in Hand Show at 1pm.

The tradition of horse ploughing has been kept very much alive around North Antrim down through the years, and from a spectator’s point of view the St Patrick’s Day match at Ballycastle provides the opportunity for the younger generation to see just how their forefathers turned the furrows in bygone days of yore.

There could be in the teens of competitors ploughing on the day, and as well as the locals there will be ploughmen, and probably one or two plough-women, taking part from right around the province of Ulster and beyond.

There is always a charitable side to the Ballycastle match, for around this time every year the organisers make a practice of handing over a cheque to a worth-while cause in the local area.

And this year it was decided that The MacMillan Unit at Antrim Area Hospital should receive the donation as a very popular and fond member of The Ballycastle and District Horse Ploughing Society, Declan McCaughan, from Glenshesk, spent some time there before sadly passing away just a few weeks ago.

The match field will be well signposted from all directions. Everyone welcome.