PLOUGHING: Michael Lesley and Tim O’Shea remember the great days of the World Ploughing Championships in 1954. Photo: Michelle Crean
By Sean Moriarty
Two of Killarney’s old stock have been remincising about 1954, as the local ploughing club prepares to unveil a monument to commemorate the World Ploughing Championships.
Plans are in place to build a peace cairn on Mission Road to commemorate the world championships visit to Kerry 65 years ago.
For various reasons this worldwide tradition was not honoured at the time, but thanks to the efforts of the local ploughing club, this oversight will now be corrected and the new cairn will be unveiled today (Saturday) by the Irish National Ploughing, South Kerry Ploughing and representatives from the World Ploughing Association, who will unveil the new cairn with a special ceremony.
The 1954 world ploughing championship was contested by teams representing 13 different countries.
Tim O’Shea’s father Michael “Mackey” O’Shea was on the organising committee 55 years ago.
“There was a parade of tractors through the town the day before the competition,” he said. “My memory is of all the flagpoles of all the different nations. It was something that was never before seen in Killarney. It was a huge occasion, I remember all the meetings were held over our shop in Main St.”
Michael Leslie’s father was involved in the first competition 65 years ago, and his son Tom is one of the driving forces behind the current plan to build the peace cairn.
“I was only 16-years-old but it started a life-long interest in tractors and ploughing,” he said. “There were lots of different tractors from all over the world at a time when they were very few tractors in this area.”