Autumn Run October 2021

A short drive with long stops.  That was the order of the day heralded by Paul and John in advance of a members circulation to say that our Autumn Run would take place at a new venue in early October 2021.  To add to the mystique, we were to meet a very interesting man who is restoring a castle. 

For us this surely was a puzzle.  Were our organisers really planning a trip to Youghal to inspect Tim’s eternal project or was there really another castle owner with an eternal work in progress project? It was a matter of wait and see.

The chosen meet point was Multooney’s Gala petrol station about a mile or so on the Dublin road where plenty of parking for trailers was assured; and a good place to stoke up on our picnic requirements should we not be energetic enough on a Sunday morning to romp around our kitchens and raid the fridge and bread bin. 

Much more convenient to select the bountiful array of freshly presented fine foods on offer in the shop complex.  A chance to fill up with fuel too and then line up our fleet of 22 cars of varying ages that embraced the full time span of Model T manufacture from 1909 to 1927. 

There was an abundance of brass radiator Ts glistening in the early morning sunshine, a very nice contrast to the black radiator vehicles from the 1917 and ten years later to end of production.   It is remarkable that after all our time together with regular runs that our need for a recovery vehicle has diminished over time, thanks to the careful attention of our proud owners.

On time, at 11:15, Paul addressed the gathering with his drivers’ briefing.  T instructions were laid out on laminated sheets showing clearly the route to be taken to Castle Leap, about seven miles northwards and into County Offaly.  John agreed to lead the convoy just in case one of our wanders wandered off the beaten track. 

The route comprised of well surfaced country roads with little or no traffic.  The hedges did not show any sign of an approaching autumn fall of leaves and thus the greenery of land and countryside was a pleasure to enjoy especially in very nice weather.  All of the Touring cars had their hoods down with us all really enjoying the warm fresh air as we progressed. 

We duly arrived at our first stop after a short drive. What can we say from the moment we drove into the castle until the moment we left it was amazing.  Sean the owner of the castle was unreal.  The knowledge he had about the land the castle and the family that once lived there was interesting.  We could have sat there all day and listened to his stories. 

He gave us flash lights and let us go on our way.  Even during the day the castle is spooky.  We don’t think any of us would wish stay over night.   To finish of our day in Castle Leap, Sean took out his whistle and burst into a tune for us.  We were all gob smackeed.  A visit is highly recommended.

Leap Castle – Ireland’s most haunted castle

Sean Ryan of Leap Castle, insisted that he doesn’t fabricate when telling the story of what he and his wife see and hear at their home. Where most would refer to these apparitions as ghosts, Sean prefers to call them spirits. He describes the regular visions as people with a haze around them. Sometimes there is a lot of activity; other times less so. The sounds they hear are footsteps, doors opening and closing and crowds talking.

However, on occasions that he has gone in the direction of the noise, nothing is apparent there, with the location of the spirits always out of reach. There is spirit, though, a lady, who touches off people. A lot of guests to the castle have also felt her presence. The remarkable thing Sean told us was that this experience never seems to alarm his guests, rather they always remain very calm, something that surprises them!

Sean doesn’t regard his home as haunted and, as far as he is concerned, the spirits he sees and hears have as much right to live there as he does. Sean is happy to continue to live alongside them as he has done since 1994, when restoration on the castle began.  So now our readers have the history of Castle Leap. 

Next for us, to tuck into our picnic lunch.  What a delightful setting it was for us.  The circular drive within the castle ground was packed to the hilt with Model Ts.  In the centre a lawn.  In quick time picnic baskets, picnic rugs and picnic chairs were out.  Some of the offerings were posh;  others very posh; and the rest somewhat in between!  The beauty of picnics is the ease of communication.  The free flow of people was enabled to the full, making conversation and chatting so easy and enjoyable.  Circulation was the order of the day.

After the long stop it was off again for another short spin.  Before we left, our President Anne addressed the gathering.  She thanked all for their attendance in unexpected numbers.  On behalf of us all she presented Sean with a turned beech bowl as a token of our appreciation.  So also with Paul and John, bowls turned from splalted beech, thanks to storm Ophelia of three years ago. 

We were off again to Birr on a 15 mile drive for refreshments and relaxation.  Here we had an opportunity to top up our tanks for the remainder of the journey back to base.  Overall our journey time was at best two hours whilst our dwell time was at least twice that.  No harm whatsoever.  All cars performed as they should and driven with courtesy to fellow road users. The weather was exceptionally kind and the occasion was most enjoyable leaving us all feeling the benefits enjoying our chosen hobby with like minded friends. 

We sign off to hibernate for the winter in anticipation of spring and to the day where summer time begins.  Sunday 27th March 2022 is the date of our annual general meeting when we all meet again and make plans for the touring season ahead.  Looking back at 2021, given the dreadful Covid-19 epidemic, we did not fare too badly at all.  Here’s hoping for a bright and bountiful 2022 season.

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