Rosemary Scally.

Kilbeggan woman is new 'voice of the ploughing'

Rosemary Scally of Kilbeggan is looking forward to becoming the new “voice of the ploughing” when the event opens at Ratheniska tomorrow, Tuesday.

A veteran of the ploughing championships and a member of a well known farming and business family, Ms Scally is taking over the public address announcer role from her friend and colleague, Carrie Acheson, who passed away in January.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, Rosemary said she was honoured to be asked, as her late father Paul Dunican was the public address announcer before Ms Acheson. “I have to say I was very emotional when I got the call,” she said. The Dunican family have a long association with the ploughing championship. Rosemary’s father was also a director of the National Ploughing Association and she has worked at every event since 1977.

When she started volunteering at the event, there was one toilet and the headquarters was a six-berth caravan. Today, the headquarters are a “village of offices” where in recent years she has been working as a results scrutineer.

Over the years, the ploughing has evolved into one of the largest agricultural events in the world and is a fixture in many people’s annual calendars. Rosemary says that she has enjoyed contributing to the growth of the event.

“It’s lovely to have been part of national ploughing, because it was always so rural-based. It’s lovely to see rural and urban connected together,” she told Agriland.

“Covid-19 has seen a new genre of urban people embracing country life. We hear more and more about that, and it’s lovely to be part of that,” she added.

On her new role, Rosemary said that she is excited to be following in the footsteps of her father and her late friend. She has some experience in the role as she filled in on a number of occasions in the past, including one day last year, and is looking forward to putting her own stamp on things.

“I remember in 1977, my father let me call out something very simple. It was such a big deal to be heard on the loudspeaker at the time.

“I’ll give it my all, because I’ve been doing a lot of background work,” she said.