28th Annual Rally July 2017 – Saturday
Welcome to our account of a marvellous annual rally that took place in Westport, County Mayo in mid July 2017 and organised by Thomas Connor.
The 28th annual run of the Irish Model T Ford Club took place over 15/16 July 2017.
We were based at the luxurious 4 star Hotel Westport in Co Mayo. It was a memorable weekend and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Here friends old and new foregathered after breakfast.
9.15am Drivers Briefing
Bright and early on Saturday morning we gathered for our driver’s briefing and it was a delight to see so many members dressed in the apparel of the time of their cars. The style was incredible. Ladies with elegant dresses, complete with fur wraps and a wonderful selection of hats to compliment the outfits.
The gentlemen stepped up to the occasion with smartly tailored suits of varying styles, together with cravats, bow ties and topped of with bowler hats and other headwear of bygone days. It was a wonderful sight to behold and set the mood for the run. We even had our own Cardinal and his housekeeper along to enjoy the day! Thomas Connor eloquently gave clear instructions and soon we were off on a five minute journey to Westport House.
Westport House Group Photo
Our first event of the day was to take a short drive to nearby Westport House where we assembled on the steps of this most impressive residence having parked our cars outside. It was a sight to behold over 40 of these beautiful vehicles standing proudly side by side.
We began our run by heading west following the Wild Atlantic Way and our first stop was at Murrish, where we heard a short talk on the famine days in Ireland. We proceeded on to Delphi and heard some more local history. Unfortunately, the weather had changed somewhat by then and a strong breeze and some rain prompted most of us to put up our car hoods. Your scribe got caught up in assisting hoods up and radiator failure. No matter, whilst somewhat wet, we were cheerful and carried on regardless.
8km (5 miles) west of Westport on the Louisburgh Road (R335), Croagh Patrick (pronounced Croke Patrick) stands at 764m (2,507ft) and is the third highest peak in Mayo, after Mweelrea and Nephin. Best known for its association with Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, who is said to have fasted for 40 days at the summit in 441AD, Croagh Patrick has been a pilgrimage destination since pre-Christian times.
Long before Saint Patrick’s arrival, the mountain was known by its ancient name of Cruchán Aigli, deriving from Cruach as a variant of ‘rick’ or ‘reek’, a reference to its distinctive conical shape. Hence, the mountain common local name, The Reek, spans the millennia. It was not until the 10th Century that it became known for its link to Saint Patrick, taking the name Cruach Phádraig, and subsequently the anglicised version, Croagh Patrick.
The most popular route to the summit begins at the west end of Murrisk on the Louisburgh Road (R335) at the signposted carpark. The route is 7km (4.3 miles) long, round-trip; bring sturdy boots, rain-gear and layers, as the temperature can be much lower at the top, and the wind can be quite strong.
The Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre includes a coffee shop/self-service restaurant, as well as a craft shop. Hot showers, secure lockers and pay and display parking are also available. Guided tours to the Statue are available from the Centre during peak season with advance notice.
Close by is Croagh Patrick. Magnificant. We drive on to Leenaun, the location of the pub scenes from the film of John B. Keane’s “The Field” and by the time we parked up in the village, the rain was fairly heavy. We enjoyed a light lunch in the Hotel. The pictures tell it all.
We resumed our journey to Kylemore Abbey in the heart of the Connemara countryside. By then the rain has eased somewhat and we spent some time exploring the world renowned Victorian Gardens and other attraction. Back in our cars, we traveled on our return journey to Westport.
That evening, we had a most delicious dinner with our fellow T travelers and exchanged stories on the adventures of the day. Thomas Connor welcomed participants and thanked them for their support. After dinner speeches included a welcome to Nigel Hugo and Mick Kemp who came to visit Ireland and brought with them the good tidings from The Model T Ford Register of Great Britain. A welcome was extended to new members on the occasion of their first annual rally with our Club, Shane Houlihan, John Eagers, Brian Keegan, Dominic Murphy and Nigel Hugo.
Lorraine Kelly asked members to be aware that a display of Club clothing would be positioned at reception on Sunday morning.
Our President on behalf of all present complimented Thomas on the good result of the day where everyone enjoyed the occasion and completed the days run without incident.
The silver salver was presented to William Cuddy by founder members Tim Crowley and Timothy Keane.
A handturned Irish beech platter was presented to Vincent Kelly by way of appreciation of his input into organising our stand at the IVVCC motor show at Punchestown earlier this year.
Finally, on behalf of the Club, President Raymond Megaw presented Thomas Connors with a hand turned Macracarpa Traditional Platter, with grateful thanks for hosting the most enjoyable event.
That is all folks for Saturday. See next section on our website for Sunday report.