Loy Digging

   08 Aug 2013

The art of making a ridge or lazy bed by hand

Since the first National Loy Finals in 1992 the number of competitors has increased from fourteen to forty-three this year, 2013.
At the first National Loy Finals in 1992 five counties competed – Senior Class only. This year, forty-three entries from seventeen counties will be competing in four classes – Senior, Junior, Under Twenty-one, and Lady’s Class. Back in 1992 Loy diggers were scarce. Most diggers were in the fifty-to-seventy age bracket. In the eighteenth year all the 1992 top competitors were retired from digging with the exception of one man, James Grimes, from Leitrim.
Presently, there are about seventy top Loy diggers in the country. This proves there must be something very attractive about Loy digging, despite the heavy appearance of the Loy and the tough sod. Men, women and children travel long journeys to compete sometimes in cold wet weather. At most venues there can be ten to twenty competitors.
Encouraging young competitors to start can be a problem. The Tullamore Show is the only place with a focus on fostering competition for boys and girls under fourteen and under sixteen, while Ballyboy Vintage Field Day hosts an underage competition. One of the winners of last year’s 2012 All Ireland Senior Trophy was a man from Wexford, Pat Murphy. Pat started competing in the underage class at the Tullamore Show.
The art of making a ridge or lazy bed by hand and doing it properly is most important for the production of fresh vegetables for the kitchen. This is a thing that was always done in the old days. The Loy is the most suitable implement for turning the green sod. The green sod is more fertile, pest-free and weed-free, and can be more organic. Planting a garden on the green sod has been proven to work well. Fertility, neatness and time-saving are just three of the benefits.
The Loy Association of Ireland
Chairperson: Thomas Egan

For information on Loy digging click here or email tmaher1845@eircom.net.