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Spud Sunday: The Loy Of The Land

Bord Bia Potato Champion 2013

Champion Spuds:
Bord Bia Potato Champion 2013, David Curran, from Fethard, Co. Tipperary (centre) with John Donohue, Tullamore Show Horticulture Organiser (left) and Lorcan Bourke of Bord Bia (right)

As far as one day agricultural events go in Ireland, the Tullamore Show, which had a hefty 61,000 visitors yesterday, is about as big as it gets. It’s host to a bewildering array of farming demonstrations and competitions, from sheep shearing to show jumping, and there was plenty to interest your resident potato anorak, from Bord Bia’s All Ireland Potato Championships (a growers’ competition, where potatoes are judged according to interior and exterior appearance – kind of like the lovely girls’ competition, except for spuds) to the mammoth potato sack race organised by Sam’s Potatoes in advance of National Potato Day on August 23rd (which, while it didn’t break any world records for numbers competing, was still a great deal of fun).

Potato sack race

Sam’s Potatoes sack race

But though they may have come to the Tullamore Show in their thousands, one of the main things of interest for me turned out to be much more of a minority concern, as I discovered when I fell into conversation with Tom Egan, chairman of the Loy Association of Ireland, about the revival of interest in the craft of loy digging.

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