Monaghan: 8th October 2023

Monaghan is the county town of County Monaghan, Ireland. It also provides the name of its civil parish and barony. The population of the town as of the 2022 census was 7,894. The town is on the N2 road from Dublin to Derry and Letterkenny.    

Monaghan is the birthplace of the famous Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, much of whose work was based on his life growing up in the village of Iniskeen.

Ardal O’Hanlon is an Irish comedian and actor. He played Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted 

Barry McGuigan MBE is an Irish retired professional boxer was nicknamed The Clones Cyclone and became the WBA and lineal featherweight world champion. 

It was 5kms south, at Ardaghty Community Centre, that we foregathered for breakfast at 10:30am with our Ts neatly parked in line.  Vincent Macklin delivered his drivers briefing, attentively listened to by his audience who, for the most part, were first timers in his native county. 

Ford Model T Day Owners Club Meet Up – Monaghan – 8th October 2023

Following comprehensive written instructions, we set off to the cheering waves from community members who came to welcome us all to their district. 

Our northwards journey took us to the centre of Monaghan town for the combined purpose of regrouping and allowing the natives and visitors, a passing glance of our fine convoy of historical vehicles in motion.

One way of describing the countryside, is to compare it to dumplings.  No hills as such but plenty of undulating roads and fields, in harmony with the general vista of the terrane.  We understood why it called the Drumlin County, where first hand, one can see the rolling landscapes as we made our way through the village of Milltown to our first stop at RSI – Rally School Ireland.

Home of Rally Driving Experiences and ‘THE’ Rally School for aspiring drivers, from first timer to professional, teenager to the seasoned citizen of the world.

For over 25 years, RSI have been the place of life-long memories and realised dreams, attracting people from across the world, some famous, some living their best lives, others being rewarded for their contributions to life, business or their community.

People come to experience the very best of Rally Ireland. Cars with first class Rally Driving pedigrees, with facilities which provide unparalleled Rally Car Driving Days.

We were kindly invited to explore our experiences and start an exciting Rally Experience in our Model Ts, as we travelled around the specially designed course of 1.1 km.  With loads of twists, turns and bends we were  chased by a high performance Porche, adorned in Police colours and flashing lights.  We were a group of newly found friends celebrating the age of the motor vehicle, from both ends of the spectrum; a mere 100 years apart. 

Matthew Macklin was there with his sophisticated recording devices to make a video for our enjoyment.

A real head turner was our visit to the rally car showroom, where all sorts of rally cars were aplenty.

Underneath an extensive garage with lifts and an array of tools and equipment used extensively in ensuring that the cars in action perform as they should and with safety.  A set of Pirelli tyres will last for one week.

Speaking of safety, we were invited into the lecture hall where we experienced first hand the effect of a saloon car on a turn style jig.  There was another exhibit, a fully prepared rally car on a spit which rotated to give the effect of a misadventure from rolling off the edge.  

To Malachy Smyth, his business associates and team we express our sincere thanks for your most graceful hospitality which came as a complete surprise to us all.  Do look at their web site

Time to set off on our way, crisscrossing along country lanes free of traffic, we were soon on our way to another unexpected treasure, notably the home of Benny and Mary Mc Cabe where in the back yard there is in position one of the neatest private collection of old artifacts ever encountered, a life time hobby of a compulsive fastidious collector.

Towards the rear, is a collection of tractors to include a Major, High Nelly and a pair of Fordsons, one a Model F and an oily rag 1937. 

An Austin Devon, restored as a pickup was first used by Benny to teach Mary how to drive, a mere 62 years ago. 

An Atco cylinder mower with a kickstart was a memory enthraller to some.

Lest it be forgotten, on display was an array and assortment of old-fashioned valve radios, the ones we cherished when listening to Radio Luxemburg 208. 

To our real surprise, we learned it was Vincent’s handy work that was to the fore, where many of the radio exhibits had been lovingly restored by himself – and all in perfect working order.

Mary and family, lots of grandchildren, neighbours and friends helped with the catering and provided teas, sandwiches, and the reliable home baked apple tart, to our delight. 

The gentlemen wearing bowler hats raised a curiosity with some of our border county friends who wondered of the significance of our millinery choice, only to be reminded that it was the costume choice of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy with of course their antics with the beloved Model T, the providers of laughter and joy to our grandparents.

In thanking the McCabe family for their generosity of spirit in having us at their home, our group leader presented Benny and Mary with a hand turned bowl made of apple wood from a Cork orchard, as an expression of our appreciation of their generous hospitality.

We set off at the pre-arranged time of 4:00 pm to take a twenty minute trip back to base.  This turned out to be an excellent ploy as many commented that, with the excitement of the days journey, it was nice to have a short jog home, rather than lengthy return commute.  We will pass on this recommendation.

Happily, we returned to the community hall, safe and well, with all present delighted with our day out.  We all expressed our thanks and appreciation to Vincent and Adam for hosting and organising our Sunday run. 

Thanks also to Matthew for undertaking film work and making his production available to us all on the following day Monday on What’s app.

Well done Vincent – we will surely return.

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