PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has officially opened the 2017 National Ploughing Championships in Screggan.
The President talked about the importance of traceability and the place of rural Ireland in Irish society and around the world.
He also commented on the importance of dealing with Brexit.
"Every time that I come here – and Sabina and I have been here every year in recent times – I marvel at the sheer size, scale and energy of “the Ploughing”," he said.
"What began as a small contest, all the way back in 1931, seeking to answer the crucial question as to which county in Ireland had the best ploughman, has now grown into one of Europe’s largest outdoor events, creating what approximates to a temporary town – which emerges almost overnight in the heart of the countryside.
"These few days are a celebration, and an opportunity to take note too, of the profound role that farmers and farming play in our society – a role that can never be fully understood in market figures and sales statistics. They are important indicators, but they do not reflect the changes that are taking place."
The President was joined on stage by Anna May McHugh and Councillor Liam Quinn, Chairperson of Offaly County Council.
The Limerick Leader has a team based in Screggan this week and would love to hear from local competitors, exhibitors or performers taking part in the annual extravaganza over the next three days.
Let us know where you will be and we will try to catch up with you. Message us on Facebook or Twitter or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are attending this year’s championships, send us a photo via Facebook or Twitter and we’ll include you in our Ploughing Photo Gallery – use the hashtag #LimerickPloughing.
You can keep up to date with all the latest goings on from the Championships on our special dedicated page on www.limerickleader.ie.