Over 81,000 visitors attended the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois today.

Attendance for the opening day of the event at Ratheniska in Stradbally was up 29,000 on last year's figure.

An estimated 200,000 people are expected to attend the event over three days.

Around 1,400 exhibitors have stands at the 800-acre site.

Prize money of €18,000 will be awarded during the championships, which are worth an estimated €36m to industry and the economy.

President Michael D Higgins officially opened the event this afternoon.

Gardaí have advised motorists to follow signs and not to use satellite navigation to get to the venue.

Traffic was heavy on all routes out of the venue this evening.