Autumn Run September 2022

Readers may recall the offer by Sean McEvoy to take on the 2022 Autumn run in September.  It does not feel that six months have passed meanwhile.  The motto must be,  get out in our Ts while we can!  While our numbers were down, a like number sent in apologies, most likely busy people juggling the demands on their time. 

A forgathering of members for morning refreshments (on September 18th) gave us all an opportunity to catch up on news.  Sean held his drivers’ briefing at 11:00 am.  We were advised to fuel up as the figure of eight run would take us as far as Tullamore, a goodly distance having regard for our thirsty Model Ts. 

We duly set off, with Co-drivers armed with a detailed map layout showing us the best way, so as to avoid primary roads and Sunday traffic.  It worked out very well as we crisscrossed in a northerly direction from county Laois to county Offaly. Out of interest, County Offaly is part of the Eastern and Midland Region and the province of Leinster. It is named after the ancient Kingdom of Uí Failghe. It was formerly known as King’s County, in honour of Philip II of Spain. Offaly County Council is the local authority for the county. 

Our first stop was at Charleville Castle, in the Midlands of Ireland, and bordering the town of Tullamore near the Shannon River, and is situated in Ireland’s most ancient primordial oak woods, once the haunting grounds of Ireland’s druids.

Charleville Castle grew from paper doodles in early 1798 to grandiose plans by the end of that very eventful year in Ireland. It was built by Charles William Bury, Earl of Charleville and was designed by Francis Johnston, one of the leading architects of the day.  Charleville Castle is said to be the finest example of gothic-revival architecture in the country.  

This is a veritable gothic castle of grand proportions.  It owes its “Tin Soldier Fortress” look to the celebration of victory over the third French revolutionary expedition to Ireland – the first decisive victory by Britain over the revolutionary republican movement, which was sweeping across the monarchies and their colonies at that time.  

It took fourteen years to complete this gothic dream, a monument not only to a now forgotten power, but also to the people who made it possible, the Irish craftsmen and impoverished people. We lined up our cars that were present for the customary photograph. Undortunately one T began to have an oil leak issue.  Common sense and prudence dictated that it be abandoned temporarily and picked up later.  The absentee headed directly to the lunch stop at Blueball.

We were off again for our picnic and the chosen stopover was at Tom Doolans Spar filling station and grocery store at Blueball.  For the record, this is an excellent place for a rest.  The offering is a well stocked shop, a food deli counter, petrol sales and modern clean bathroom facilities.  Event organisers would do worse than to take note of this very suitable place.  As it transpired we all foraged at the deli counter and had our Sunday lunch together.

The weather was not an issue as it was a fine dry and warm day where dining al fresco was an option but unavailes this time.  Our President Paul Murphy thanked Sean for the attention to detail that he ploughed into the preparation of the event for us, bringing us safely along low traffic volume roads with plenty of scenery to match.  For all intents and purpose, you may take it that there are no hills  to contend with.  Aa result, our fine Edwardian vehicles purred along at an easy pace. 

On behalf of the Club, President Murphy presented Sean with a hand turned ash bowl as a keepsake and a token of our appreciation for his efforts.

We duly headed back in a southerly direction. On arriving at Mountmellic one of our number was running out of fuel, notwithstanding advices tendered, and as ill luck would have it, safely coasted to the forecourt of an Esso Petrol Station, only to find the garage had closed down some considerable time ago.  With wise and prudent colleagues around, a two gallon fuel supply was to hand.   In no time were off to conclude our autumn run. 

Everything well well and as planned.  We left on time, enjoyed our two stops, traveled safely, recorded the group photograph and presented our host with a gift as an expression of our appreciation.  Being back at base for 5:00 pm has many virtues, the main one for long distant travellers, meaning they get home in daylight and garage up their cars in readiness for the next adventure.  In closing, thank you Sean for making our 2022 Autumn trip pleasant and enjoyable.

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