What to Wear to the National Ploughing Championships

If you were hoping that I would tell you that wellies aren’t a must then, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Unfortunately if you are heading down to the National Ploughing Championship tomorrow, Wednesday or Friday – there is no paved oasis for high heels – so operate the same footwear policy as you would for a festival. 

However, that’s not to say that Ireland’s most fashionable ladies let a pair of wellies put a dampner on things. Instead of a Best Dressed Lady competition, the Ploughing holds a ‘Most Appropriately Dressed Lady’ competition, this year it’s on Wednesday 24th September. It’s a field in Ireland at the end of September – so wrap up warm and waterproof.

Due to the aforementioned muck, it’s advisable to keep your bottom half simple, with a pair of dark coloured jeggings, jeans, jodhpurs or chinos – and draw the attention upwards to a fabulously tailored jacket. Tweed is a nice homage to country living as celebrated by the festival, but if it is lashing down perhaps a Dubarry jacket might keep you dry a little longer.


The real opportunity to shine amongst the farmers is a simple and appropriate hat. Think a tweed trilby with a brightly coloured feather and a smattering of bright red lipstick. Pick up a bespoke cloche in milliner John Shevlin’s Cows Lane studio  (€60-€80) or this Evelyn herringbone patterned hat from Kilkenny at €69.95.


If the recent Scottish referendum doesn’t have you itching to pull the tartan scarf down from on top of the wardrobe, the trends should be. Catwalks have been heaving with the eponymous fabric for this season. Along with your hat – the scarf is your opportunity to inject some colour and interest into your cosy outfit.


At the best of times, it is difficult to carry a plastic glass of Guinness or wine. Add in well-worn muddy track to the bar, and it’s clear you need to operate a hands free system. Go for a neat bag like this Orla Kiely’s Hazel bag (€469), which is big enough to throw in a packet of Kleenex and your sunnies in case the sun breaks out.


It’s just about time to pull out your leather gloves! If you lost last year’s pair it’s a good excuse to pick up a pair – but wait until you get down to Laois as the shopping is excellent.


Diary of Dionysus Tips!

BYOB – It’s inevitable, unless you have the will power of a saint or are driving – that you will have a few drinkies. Pick up a nice bottle of champagne, and two plastic flutes and save yourself time and hassle. With pints of plain starting at €6, and each bottle of bubbles giving 6-8 glasses, a €48 bottle is cost effective too! (NB be drinkaware.ie!)

Don’t Drive – The Ploughing Championship is the largest outdoor event in Europe. And it’s in Laois – so the traffic is shocking. Encourage chivalry in an accompanying men, avoid road rage and allow yourself a drink. If he won’t drive – get the bus!

Dates: Tuesday 23rd – Wednesday 25th September

Where: Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois


 Tickets cost €20