Stradbally August 2019

The 55th annual steam rally took place at Stradbally, Co. Laois over the 4th August 2019 bank holiday week end and we accepted an invitation to present our Model T ford cars and commercials at as a static display on Sunday. On the previous evening there was a gigantic parade down the village and we were well represented and well received.

Our patch was prepared by Paul and John, meaning the area was staked off, grass cut and hospitality suite in position.  Little is known and for that matter no credit is given to a special person who played a significant part in the layout of our facilities, that person no other then our President Ann Duffy who power washed the catering/hospitality cabin and hoovered the carpet extending right into the hospitality tented area.

It was a great and delightful surprise to meet members of long standing who for one reason or another had absented themselves from participation in our gatherings over the last few years. They had received our e-mails and newsletters an so were in touch with all of our happenings. That said, they said they will renew their involvement with us which is good. To Michael Maher from Co. Galway and Jim Bob Walsh from Co. Cork it was a pleasure to renew acquaintances. 

We had special visitors from abroad who graced us with their company.  Beforehand Mark and Sue Dunn from New Zeland North Island and communicated by e-mail and visited a member at home while on their four week visit to Ireland to visit long standing relations. Our President Anne Duffy made them feel welcome, introduced them to our members and presented a hand turned Irish Ash bowl as a memento of the occasion.

Paul Murphy claims family relationships with a Model T person by the name of Cindy Fuller, all the way from Texas USA. Her party of four visited us again this year. Last year they participated in our Autumn run 2018 where we visited the Japanese Gardens and The Irish Stud. Such was the enjoyment experienced whilst mingling with Irish folk, they returned for more of the same to Stradbally. To our friends from USA, Len and Cindy Fuller and Stace and Krista Jones, we are happy to have you amongst us as you please where you will always receive a Cead Mile Failte (a hearty Irish welcome).

The catering corps was in full swing once again feeding and watering the masses of visitors all day, right from the start at 10.30am and with no finishing time.  Vinny was detailed to fetch water and the accompanying photograph shows how willing he took up this chore. Eleanor Hendy took charge again this year and was competently assisted by all her wonderful helpers. Thank you ladies.

Lorraine Dunne arrived with her two little ones and Vincent in tow and up shop in displaying our assortment of club clothing. The racks were positioned right at the entrance to our food hall and could not be avoided. Several enquiries were made and sales were brisk.  Our clothing with Model T logo is sold at cost and represent good value and when worn on club outings are truly stylish.

John O’Neill turned up with a working cutout of a Model T engine and transmission and ably demonstrated the working components to many members and others who were truly appreciative of effort that he put in to make the presentation and all the long hours in creating this model. 

The main event of the day was the conversion of a Model T Ford car into a Model T Ford Tractor. There was an aftermarket accessory priced at $255 at the time which was claimed would do the work of four strong horses. The demonstration was carried out by Paul Murphy. 

The onlookers were encouraged to help out in the assembly procedure of the heavy components led in the main by George Fulton from Northern Ireland. That is to say also that the many interested onlookers were more than willing to get involved.  Pride of place was extended to Paul whilst he proudly drove the T tractor around our area, and with acclamation.

The organisers of the Steam Rally expressed their appreciation of our involvement in their event and presented each member in attendance with a brass plaque. 

After group photograph President Ann Duffy thanked Paul and John and presented them each with a hand turned Irish ash bowl especially for the occasion. 

She thanked our members for their support and wished them a safe journey home.  All being well, we will return again in 2020.

In closing off this communication we publish a random selection of people milling around, taking part in the parade and generally enjoying themselves. It was a wonderful day, good weather and friendly company. We surely could ask for no more.

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