MULLAHEAD Ploughing Match is a local event which has grabbed the headlines on an international level, bringing out thousands of spectators on the last Saturday in February each year.
Competitors also are keen to test their skills at what has become the largest one day event of its kind in the British Isles and Ireland. Ex World champions judge and more recent world champions take part. Over 150 tractor ploughing competitors take part in the various classes, from vintage to modern. Thirty “Ferguson” enthusiasts compete to become “All Ireland Ferguson Ploughing Champion” up to 40 pairs of horses compete for the prestigious title of “Ulster Horse Ploughing Champion”. Mullahead claim this to be the largest horse ploughing match in the world.
The international sport of Tractor Pulling is also on display, with competitors travelling from all over to compete in the Farm Class section. These tractor pulling competitors are made up from some of NI’s most prominent farmers and contractors and bring a dedicated following of enthusiasts along in support. Trade exhibits, side shows, prize give aways, and the opening up of the countryside make this a good day out for all the family.
The “Richardson Estate” outside Portadown is the venue each year with the 130 acre “Mill Farm” put at Mullahead Ploughing Society’s disposal. Situated in the “Bann Valley” its deep fertile soil provides world class ploughing conditions. Its geographical position is very central in NI and the venue is easily accessible from Southern Ireland as well.
The Richardson Estate is steeped in the history of the area, and the old linen industry. The river Bann played an integral part in the development of the estate both as a power source for the old flour mill and as a feeder for the adjacent Newry Canal and its associated commercial connections. It is also reputed to be the site of the first distilled water plant in Ireland. The river Bann had its course moved artificially to make way for the Newry canal and the Belfast to Dublin railway where they pass through the estate.
Mullahead Ploughing Society was formed in 1912 and has held a ploughing match almost every year since with only a break for war years and more recently foot and mouth in 2001. The 99th event will take place Saturday 23rd February 2013, and is organised by volunteers from all different backgrounds. It is a real community effort which has grabs the imagination of all involved, and is something much more than just another ploughing match.
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