Hour long special on ‘queen of ploughing’

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A special hour long programme on ‘ploughing queen’ Anna May McHugh will be shown on TG4 on Christmas evening.

The National Ploughing Championships have captured the hearts and imaginations of the nation, particularly in recent years. Staged in the early Autumn, the event has grown from a mere 40 entries at the 1931 inaugural competition to become Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and trade show. Held over three days, it has long ceased to be solely an agricultural event, mirroring the State Fairs of the U.S. Attracting annual crowds of almost 300,000, two thirds of whom are not involved in agriculture, the Championships are a national phenomenon.

Presiding over the growth and success of the event is Anna May McHugh, the tireless Co. Laois native who has worked with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) for 67 years, almost 50 of which have been at the helm. Now 84 and, up to recently, the only woman in a man’s world, this Managing Director shows no sign of retiring from the organisation, as she embarks on putting together yet another annual event. To many she is a national treasure. But what does it take to organise an event of this scale? What is the personal toll on those involved? And, at a time when there are fewer farmers than ever in the fields and farm incomes are at an all time low, what is the significance of the event to those who participate in and attend the National Ploughing Championships

Anna May - Banríon An Plough is a one-hour observational documentary following Anna May over the course of four months, in the build up and staging of the eventful 2018 National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co. Offaly. It will be broadcast at 9.25pm.