Alternative headline - "The Yassification of the Ploughing".
Since its iteration in 1931, the National Ploughing Championships has always been an important event for rural Ireland. First held as the result of an argument between two friends from Wexford and Gorey respectively, each of whom claimed their county had the best ploughmen, the Ploughing has gone from a small event in a 26 acre field to a three-day affair held on 700 acres of land, attended by almost 300,000 visitors every year.
Since the pandemic and the rise of TikTok, a whole new audience have been exposed to life on a farm. Teenagers from Dublin suburbs have gotten to see the inside of a milking parlour and gained an understanding of the highs and lows of lambing season, but more importantly young farmers living in rural parts of Ireland have been able to connect not just with each other but also with curious followers from all over the world.
The Irish Independent recently profiled a number of Irish farm-fluencers, including young gay dairy farmer Mícheal Cullinane (@mcullinane1996) and sheep farmer Katie Shanahan (@k8_eeee), each of whom bring a fresh perspective to what farming in Ireland looks like, becoming spokespeople for unrepresented groups in the industry all while carrying out jobs that are second nature to them, but bewildering to non-farming onlookers.
Online content like this has a whole new cohort interested in the Ploughing Championships - this year, TikTok have their own "house" at the event (Tigh TikTok), welcoming a host of Irish content creators from farming and non-farming backgrounds - the likes of Miriam Mullins (@miriammullins_,) and James Doyle (@jamesdoylefitness) appear on the lineup alongside Séaghan Ó Súilleabháin (@kerrycowboy) and Cavan farmer Sophie Bell (@sophie_bell__).
Since the ploughing got underway yesterday, the content has been coming in hard and fast on Tiktok, Instagram and beyond, from mud-soaked wellies and ten year olds commenting on the price of tractors to the queue round the marquee corner to catch a glimpse of Marty Morrissey.
You might find yourself overcome with a FOMO similar to the kind anyone who missed out on the heatwave at Electric Picnic this year experienced, tentatively searching "Ploughing Championships 2024" on Google and hoping you can get your hands on an early bird ticket for next year.
With content like this, who'd blame you?
Header images via TikTok / aoifeohreilly/ kerrycowboy
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