UNVEILING: The Cairn of Peace Monument symbolises the spirit of this competition, in keeping with tradition, a piece of stone from all the countries that participated in the world forms part of the cairn Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan


By Sean Moriarty


The final piece of the jigsaw that links Killarney with the 1954 World Ploughing Championships is complete thanks to the efforts of local ploughing enthusiasts who unveiled a ‘Cairn of Peace’ monument in the town last weekend – to mark the event 65 years ago.

Following two years of hard work the ‘Cairn of Peace’ was unveiled on Mission Road last Saturday.


Tradition states that each town that hosts the annual World Ploughing Championships would erect a ‘Cairn of Peace’ – to promote its mission statement ‘Let Peace Cultivate the Land’ – but for various reasons it did not happen in Killarney.


Back in 1954, 13 teams from all over the world competed over two days for the World Ploughing Championship.  After Canada, Ireland was the second ever host nation.


The cairn was designed by Ballyhar man, Bernard O’Sullivan, and each of the 13 countries that took part 65 years ago is represented by a rock from that country which is built into the monument.


Members of the newly formed Killarney Ploughing, along with officials from Kerry Ploughing, the National Ploughing Association and the World Ploughing World Organisation set about correcting this oversight.


As the monument was unveiled, flags representing each of the 13 countries were raised to the backdrop of the Irish National Anthem.


Local farmer and agricultural history enthusiast Seanie O’Donoghue donated the vintage plough that sits on top of the monument.


Members of local ploughing clubs were joined by Hugh Barr, the 1954 World Champion from Coleraine, County Derry, and representatives from the 1954 Republic of Ireland Ploughing team; William Murphy and Ronald Sheane, to witness the unveiling.


Other guests included the National Ploughing Association Managing Director Anna May McHugh and Anna Marie McHugh, the World Ploughing Organisation General Secretary.


“After 65 years the World Ploughing Championships’ visit to Killarney is finally marked in stone,” said local organiser Tom Leslie.

“The weekend went way better than we had planned. It was an honour to have Hugh Barr, William Murphy and Ronald Sheane here. We brought them up the farms where they ploughed in 1954, and it was a special and emotional occasion for them. It was also special for Anna May and Anna Marie.”

Tom thanked Kerry County Council for donating the site on Mission Road, officials from local, national and international ploughing associations for making the event happen, and members of Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club for providing volunteers to help the event run smoothly.

PEACE CAIRN: At the unveiling of The Cairn of Peace Monument to commemorate the World Ploughing Championships held in Gortroe, Killarney in 1954 designer Ben O’Sullivan, local farmer Sean O’Donoghue, Mrs Anna May McHugh (Managing Director of National Ploughing Association) and organiser Tom Leslie of the Killarney Ploughing Association. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

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