The first National Ploughing Championships were held in Athy in February, 1931.  Kerry first competed in the National Ploughing Championships in 1933 at Clondalkin, Co. Dublin when they secured 5th place.  On February 8 1939 the National Ploughing Championships were held in Killarney for the first time.  At this time, Kerry had been graded junior and in this grade tied with Longford for 5th place.  It was an unequal contest for Kerry in view of the rules of the then National Ploughing Association and the method of allocating marks in the National contest which favoured the Leinster close style of ploughing in contradistinction to deep broken style characteristic of Munster which Kerrymen used at home on their farms.  The Kerryman produced a good seed bed in the one operation while the Leinster style necessitated intensive use of the harrow.

The three original architects in the adoption by Kerry of the Leinster style of ploughing who brought All-Irelland honours to Kerry - John Joe Egan and Patrick O'Mahony, Aulane and Patrick J.P. Shanahan, Ballylahive, Abbeydorney - have now passed to their eternal reward.  During their ploughing career this trio was as well known as any member of the Kerry Football team of their day.  They have made the name of Abbeydorney famous to fellow ploughmen throughout the length and breath of Ireland.  To see them in action was an example of the perfect harmony between a man and his team of horses.  No more will their voices echo over the ploughing fields, or the creaking harness, and subdued rattle of the ploughing chains of their horses be heard.  During their ploughing ife they had turned the soil to face the sun in several counties in Ireland.  The soil is now their mantle as they rest in dignity and peace.

Three other ploughmen of a later generation, namely Paddy Glavin, Kevin Roche and Desmond Shanahan, also brought All-Ireland ploughing honours to Kerry.  They are still happily with us. Finally,tribute must be paid  to the men who year after year in good times and bad have consistently given their time and whole-hearted dedication to ensuring the success of their annual ploughing match.   They have sustained, kept alive and bequeathed the art of ploughing to future generations.  Once a ploughing match dies in a parish the art of skilful ploughing is buried with it.

Queen Of The Plough - Mary Shanahan.

"Mary Shanahan has few equals

Our Sterling ice-cool farmette

Perserverance and steeped in tradition

Will steer her to victory yet."

Those prophetic words  were written on 13 February, 1958 by the late Mick Barry, the poet from Lisanearla, one year before she won the title "Queen of the Plough".  

In 1959 at Carlow, Mary Shanahan, now Mrs Monty Falvey, Ballylahive, Abbeydorney, won the title "Queen of the Plough", thus fulfilling Mick Barry's prophesy of the previous year. In 1960 at New Ross she retained her title "Queen of the Plough".  One of Mary Shanahan's proudest days was at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin in 1959. On that day   another episode of history was made by a young woman from rural Ireland who had won her crown as a result of her ploughing skills in a competition previously dominated by men.

She has achieved fame by her inclusion in that elite supreme class of women in Irish Society who have been crowned "Queen of the Plough".




1941 - John Joe Egan, Aulane, Junior Horse Plough Title in Cork

1948 - Patrick O'Mahony, Aulane, Junior Horse Plough Title in Limerick

1948 - Patrick Glavin, Ballysheen, Minor Horse Plough Title in Limerick

1951 - Patrick P.J. Shanahan, Ballylahive, Senior Tractor Title, Wexford

1952 - Patrick O'Mahony, Aulane, Senior Horse Plough Title, in Athenry

1952 - Patrick Glavin, Ballysheen, Minor Horse Plough Title,  inAthenry

1954 - Desmond Shanahan, Ballylahive, Minor Horse Plough Title, Cahir

1954 - John Joe Egan, Aulane, Senior Horse Plough Title, in Cahir

1958 - John Joe Egan, Aulane, Senior Horse Plough Title, in Tramore

1958 - Kevin Roche, Clounametig, Minor Tractor Title, in Tramore

1959 - Mary Shanahan, Ballylahive, Queen of Plough, in Carlow

1960 - Mary Shanahan, Ballylahive, Queen of Plough, in New Ross

1960 - Patrick O'Mahony, Aulane, Senior Horse Plough Title, New Ross

1961 - John Joe Egan, Aulane, Senior Horse Plough Title, in Killarney

1963 - Patrick O'Mahony, Aulane, Senior Horse Plough Title in Athenry

1977 - John Joe Egan, Aulane, Senior Horse Plough Title Rockwell Coll.

Abbeydorney Ploughing Society are presently researching the history of the Society which dates back to 1856.  In an article published in The Tralee Chronicle Newspaper , March 11th 1864, the 8th Annual Meeting of the Abbeydorney Ploughing Society took place on Wednesday 3rd in a field belonging to Mr Mason, Ahamore when 13 ploughs appeared on the field, belonging to the following parties;  2 from W. Talbot Crosbie, Esq., Ardfert Abbey; 2 from Mr W Todd,  Ballysheen; 1 from Mr Watson, Lismaurice; 1 from Mr William Sheahan, Ballysheen; 1 from Mrs Shanahan, Tubrid; 1 from Mr Lunham, Lismore; 1 from Mr O'Creagh, Dromartin; 1 from Mr P Healey, Killahan; 1 from Mr Solomon Egan, Aulane Ban; 1 from Mr M Crowley, Clounametig; 1 from Mr J leslie Clounametig.

Th prize winners were as follows; First prize - William Sheahan, Ballysheen.  Second prize - Patrick O'Mahony, (ploughing for Mrs.  Shanahan, Tubrid).  Third prize - Dan Buckley, (ploughing for William Todd, Ballysheen).  Fourth prize - John Egan (son of Solomon Egan, Aulane Ban). Fifth prize - Patrick Healey, Killahan.

The Society would greatly appreciate any newspaper articles or photographs which would be of assistance in the compilation of this history and same can be forwarded to Mr Tom O'Mahony, Clounametig, Abbeydorney