As a man raised in a Dublin suburb my experiences with agriculture start and stop with a brief, and largely regrettable, dalliance with Farmville back in the heady days of 2010, I have literally no clue what goes on within the confines of a farm. A farm to me may as well be Area 51; I am largely unwelcome in both and they are places where mysterious things occur which I do not understand and do not think I want to understand.
With the 2018 National Ploughing Championships kicking off today, an event of which I am entirely ignorant, there seems no better way to celebrate the opening of such an august national institution than to have an ignorant city boy fumblingly try to describe what the hell it is. An interview seemed the best format for this to take place but, given that it’s been a busy day in the College Times offices, and we are short-staffed, I have been forced to be resourceful and so will be interviewing myself. I will not go easy on myself, and I will try and do justice to you the reader, to not let me dodge any of the questions I come up with. So without further ado:
Q: Hi Rory, thanks for joining me, how’re you doing?
A: Look, stop trying to butter me up and let’s get down to it, I’m a busy man.
Q: Alright. Rory, what is ploughing?
A: I know it’s something they do on farms, perhaps to do with milk? But I’ve never really heard it outside of a sexual context.
Q: What’s the sexual context?
A: Google it. I’m not here to do Urban Dictionary’s work for you.
Q: Tell us what your understanding of ploughing is.
A: Well, my first time was when I was 17 and-
Q: -In a farming context.
A: Oh…something about digging holes –
Q: – Which you seem good at doing for yourself.
A: If you interrupt me one more time I’ll jab you with a pen… It’s something about holes. I know that the holes are a good thing, like how trenches are good in war, and that they’re where the farmers keep… all the animals? To stop them blowing away? Sheep live in holes.
Q: I see. How would one go about ploughing?
A: I’m guessing that there’s some sort of special equipment for digging the holes. A very large shovel perhaps? Like, one large enough for two men to hold at once. Or maybe a pack of very well-trained dogs?
Q: And what is the National Ploughing Championships?
A: It’s a competition to see who can dig the best hole. Where each part of Ireland sends their best team of dogs to compete. It’s sort of a mixture of Crufts, dog-fighting and mud-wrestling.
Q: If I were to tell you now that there definitely aren’t dogs involved in any way how would you feel?
A: Rory, if you’re here to mess me around then this interview is over. You better not be trying to make a fool of me with this.
Q: Alright, alright, relax Rory, put the pen down. Have you ever attended the National Ploughing Championships?
A: I think we both know that I clearly haven’t.
Q: Will you be attending this year?
A: Definitely not, I haven’t willingly put myself in a location that doesn’t have direct access to Wi-Fi in about 4 years and, as far as I understand, it takes place in a field?
Q: Well, Tullamore, but yes.
A: What’s Tullamore?
Q: It’s a place.
A: I’ve never heard of it, what part of Dublin is it in?
Q: Right. Final question, Rory what is slurry?
A: Some kind of food… Like slush puppy, but a curry? A frozen and blended curry. Do they feed that to farm animals?
Q: Rory, thank you.
A: Where are my biscuits. You lured me into this under the assumption I would be provided with biscuits.
As you can see I went full-blown Paxman on my ass. I tried to wheedle out of a few of the more prickly questions, but as ever I held my cool and pressed myself on the important issues. I hope that this interview has proved an informative insight into the National Ploughing Championships and not been a massive waste of time for all involved.