Brass Brigade September 2022

In early February last, word got out via social media that the 2022 Brass Brigade would take place towards the end of September, the rally base would be in Clonmel, County Tipperary and the accommodation and meals would be provided by the Minella Hotel. 

On arrival, we were encouraged to check in and register from 4:30 pm and join in a reception and dinner at 7:00 pm.  Our first experience of this hotel proved to be delightful in all respects so much so, that this is what we enjoyed for the duration: warm and comfortable, good food and service with friendly staff,  meeting our requirements. 

The array of brass cars to admire in the hotel carpark was spectular.  Motor vehicles up to year 1918 were on show, running sweetly and polished up to the nines.  The entry was restricted to 50 cars, more or less.  As it happened, half of this number comprised of Model T Ford cars.  The largest entry  segment were those manufactured in 1914 with models from 1913 in a close second place position. 

The array of models, apart from the Ts, was mixed and varied to include French, American and English makes. The remarkable point to note the reliability of these centurions, with all credit to their keepers.  A round trip of 40 or so miles, for 50 or so old crocks, without recovery assistance demonstrates the love, care and attention these historic vehicles receive from their dedicated owners.

The most enjoyable occasion, comes to fruition only when IVVCC volunteers in their backrooms, work diligently in route planning, correspondence and communication with entrants and liaison with the hotel keeper and our gracious hosts for the mid morning stop.

County Tipperary is a delightful place to be at any time of year.  The Galtee mountains dominate the rural countryside where the fields of green in the glens have recovered their warm rich colour following after harvest, a welcomed few days of rain, after our summer of exceptional sunshine and dryness.  In short we experienced County Tipperary at its best.  Furthermore, from the point of view of our driving enjoyment, the roads are traffic free, hill feee but with an abundance of true country life. 

We must take our hats off to the brass brigade duo of Bernadette Wyer and Kevin Herron, whose attention to detail is exemplary.  We have nothing to lavish but praise and thanks.

Our tulip maps were clear and concise and after travelling 24.3 miles we came across the entrance to Lismacue House, a stone’s throw from the village of Bansha.  The house history is interesting. The original dwelling, situated in the Oak Paddock had  five chimneys and incurred a hearth tax of 10/- according to the Hearth Tax records of 1665.

On the 15th October 1704 Lismacue was purchased by William Baker, ancestor of Kate Nicholson, for the sum of £923. Since then the estate has been continually occupied by the family. Sir Augustine Baker, a solicitor, was President of the Incorporated Law Society in 1903. He compiled the family history in 1922, just before the Public Record Office was burned down.

It is a classically proportioned Irish country house set on 200 acres and approached by one of the most impressive lime tree avenues in Ireland, planted c.1760 by Hugh Baker. Lismacue is a beautifully maintained model of country house splendor with high ceilings and intricate plasterwork, broad staircases and gloriously stained pine floors.

Differing architectural styles can be discerned between the main building, the wing, and The Coach House. This is s the ideal property for anyone wanting to rent a luxury home for a quiet country break.  Standing in 200 acres of parkland, this is the ideal location to relax and explore the wonders of Ireland. 

We were treated to hot liquid refreshments together with fresh cakes and scones.  The pick of the crop surely must be the apple crumble pieces, freshly baked from home grown apples.  The taste is memorable.  

After chatting a while with our hosts Jim and Kate Nicholson, fellow vintage enthusiasts, we were soon homeward bound.  Along the way, Sunday afternoon strollers were pleased to see our cavalcade, as were residents of rural dwellings and the townspeople of villages and towns we transversed.

By 2:00 pm we were all seated in the large dining room of Minella Hotel where hot Sunday lunch was served.  Whilst we dined, word got out in Clonmel, where lots of people had a chance to inspect and admires in the certain knowledge that such a line of beautiful vehicles is not on offer every day.  Meanwhile Myles O’Reilly addressed the diners, thanked them for their participation and safety on the roads with due courtesy to fellow road users. 

Kevin Herron announced the 2023 venue will be in County Kerry, taking into account in some form or other some relics of the 1903 Gordon Bennett rally.  In recognition of the hard work, skill and dedication of the event’s prime mover, Tim Crowley emeritus president of The Irish Model T Ford Club presented to Bernadette Wyer, a hand turned 11 inch splated beech bowl, our way of showing appreciation and thanks.  Greeted with acclaim by the audience.

It was truly an event that is marked by all on their calendars at least one year in advance:  we were not disappointed.  Everything worked well, good hotel, enjoyable stopover and pleasant company, with an added bonus of fine weather, incident free driving and top class planning.  We will surely join in again in 2023.

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