32nd Annual Rally Sligo 2021
Our 32nd Annual Irish Model T Ford Club rally hosted by Ann and Bernard Duffy took us to parts of beautiful Co Sligo and Co Leitrim. Our base was the ideally located Sligo Park Hotel on the outskirts of Sligo town, with wonderful views of the Dartry Mountains. It was great to meet up with all our friends after the cancellation of last years rally due to the Covid pandemic.
We began Saturday morning with our drivers briefing at 9am, where our Honorary treasurer Tim Keane introduced our President and rally host Ann Duffy who laid out our route and activities for the day. Each car was provided with a program and goody bag before heading off at 9.30.Our first stop of the day was at Tobernalt, Sligo’s holy well, located in a beautiful area at the foot of Carn hill.
Ann Duffy gave us a brief history of the well, which was used as a place for secret masses during penal times and details about the healing power of the water there. After leaving the well our route took us around Lough Gill which was a wonderful scenic drive, Lough Gill is a fresh water lake containing 20 small islands including Innisfree an island made famous by W.B. Yeats…. more about him later…
We then had a pit stop in the village of Dromahair for a tea or coffee and a quick chat with the locals who came out in force to admire our fantastic collection of Model T’s. The weather so far was playing a blinder and the rain predicted never materialised. Our route then continued through the beautiful Leitrim countryside to Parkes Castle, a restored 17th Century castle situated on the northern shores of Lough Gill, there we were given a history of the castle from a member of the OPW staff who also then treated us to some wonderful music on his Uilleann pipes.
Off we went again and after some more driving on what could only be described as the perfect Model T Roads we arrived at Glencar Waterfall, after parking up it it was a short walk to the viewing platforms to witness the spectacular waterfall which was made famous by the W. B. Yeats poem Stolen child. We then enjoyed lunch alfresco at the waterfall cafe before heading off on to our next stop which was Drumcliff Cemetery, the final resting place of W.B. Yeats, again we were given a brief history of the church and grounds by a helpful member of staff…
Eamon Dunne did point out out something the guide wasn’t aware of and that was that the inventor of the crossword puzzle was also buried there, I couldn’t find his grave but Eamon assured me it was 4 down and 3 across!!!!!
Our day wasn’t done yet as it had one more treat in store with a drive to the very scenic Rosses Point where a crowd from the local camper park flocked to see our early century machinery. After all the views were taken in, we headed back in convoy to the hotel. Dinner was hosted in the ballroom at 7pm, Tim Keane deputising for our honorary Secretary William Cuddy, thanked Ann and Bernard Duffy for being great hosts and presented them with a hand turned wooden bowl, handed crafted by the one and only William Cuddy, he also thanked John and Eleanor Hendy for their help in organising such a wonderful event.
Tim and Ann then presented the Silver Salver to the deserving John and Frances Brady. Tim Keane and Paul Murphy then handed out the brass plaques to each participant present. it was also announced that the 2022 Annual Rally will be in the wonderful Co Cork and will be hosted by Michael and Joan Rigney, A great night was had by all and Ann said she’d allow us a bit of a sleep in in the morning as we wouldn’t be departing til 10am..
Day 2 was a shorter day but nonetheless very enjoyable, we departed the hotel at 10.30am for our first destination of the day, the beautiful Strandhill beach. Our journey took us through the outskirts of Sligo town where again the cars attracted a huge amount of attention from the locals. After another wonderful scenic drive along the coast we arrived in the vibrant seaside resort of Strandhill, with it’s wild Atlantic waves it is a popular spot all year round for surfers who visit from all over the world, we parked up in the large carpark and ventured down to the sea front for a walk, talk, tea and an ice cream.
From Starndhill you could see Knocknarea mountain where at the summit a large pile of stones marks the grave of the legendary warrior, the queen of the west Maeve. We stayed in Strandhill for sometime as there was a great buzz about the place. We then headed for Carrowmore Tombs which is home to Ireland’s oldest stone circles and dolmens, again we listened to an OPW expert on the history of the location and she gave us a great insight to how the people of that time lived, their rituals and how they honoured their dead.
We then took a walking tour of the site and got caught out in our first bit of rain over the weekend, it may have dampened our clothes but didn’t dampen our spirits. We left Carrowmore and drove through the countryside for our hotel, it was a great end to a fabulous weekend, Thank you again to Ann, Bernard, John and Eleanor for organising a truly magnificent weekend, particularly under the limitations of the Covid restrictions.
A special mention and thank you to Paul Murphy who is always on hand to assist everyone with problems big and small, and of course thank you to John Hayes for being our dependable tail end charlie. If you didn’t find this report up to the usual high standard, don’t worry Valerie and Bill who were sorely missed over the weekend, will be back in business for the next rally.
All the best, Alan and Paula Deasy