VD Trophy 2016 Celebrations Cork June 2017
We were asked by the Cork Convention Bureau whether part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Henry Ford & Son Limited setting up a manufacturing plant at Marina in Cork, whether we would showcase our ubiquitous vehicles by chauffeuring special guests from Germany around our beautiful city for one day.
We were only too pleased to accept. After all we were encouraged to join with the group of 45 visitors for lunch at Blackrock Castle.
Irish Examiner Video Clip
Foregathering of Members
Our team of 15 Model T Ford Touring cars and ranging in years from 1910 to 1927, comprised a Tourabout, several Touring Cars, a Tudor, 2 Fordors and a Pick up. Drivers came from across Munster including Adare, Bandon, Ballinadee, Dungourney, Clonmel, Greystones, Macroom, Newtownshandrum, Glanmire and Cork city.
Arrival of Lord Mayor of Cork
The Right Honorable The Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Tony Fitzgerald and the Lady Mayoress Georgina Fitzgerald was present to greet the visitors and welcome them to Cork city.
In his address of welcome he said Cork has so much to offer conference organisers who are seeking the perfect destination for their next business conference or convention in Ireland. He hoped that they would enjoy their stay in Cork and recommend to their friends the world class conference venue facilities, internationally acclaimed hotels, 1100km of coastline, and world class championship golf courses. He reminded them that Cork is the gourmet capital of Ireland which no doubt they would sample and enjoy during their visit.
The Lord and Lady Mayoress led the convoy to Shandon.
Canoe and Kayak on the River Lee
By then the visitors had completed a morning of Canoe and Kayak activities on the River Lee.
Drivers and Guests
Meanwhile our Model Ts were parked along the quayside in front of The Clayton Hotel in readiness at noon for stage one of our guests T encounter.
A bi-lingual briefing was given by Clemens von Beust, mostly in German which our T owners could sense the genuine greetings and thanks for our hospitality on the occasion of their special visit to Cork and how pleased they were to have been received by our Lord Mayor Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald.
And so we were ready to go. Engines all cranked up and passengers sitting comfortably.
The Shandon Bells Experience
Our journey duration was of 20 minutes to St. Anne’s Church in Shandon where An Garda Soichana led the way with a motor cycle escort, blue lights, sirens, waving pedestrians and visitors as we drove effortlessly down Parnell Place and Merchants Quay, across Christy Ring Bridge, up Mulgrave Road and a sharp turn left along Church Street where we had in view the Tower of Shandon and the entrance gates to the walled gardens of St Anne’s.
The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald welcomed guests to Shandon right in the heart of his constituency.
Here they were to experience enjoy the Unique experience of Ringing the world famous Shandon Bells from the first floor, after climbing 132 steps and see spectacular 360 degree views of the city at 36.65m/120ft. Half way up view the internal workings of the clocks, the ‘Four Faced Liar’ and see the 18th Century bells in the Belfry. If more time were to be had one could unwind and be at peace in the beautiful surrounds of St. Anne’s Church – one of the oldest churches in the city built in 1722.
The four-faced clock, made by James Mangan of Cork, was erected by Cork Corporation in 1847. On a part of the clock’s mechanism is the grim aphorism:
Passenger measure your Time, for Time is the Measure of your Being.Clock Inscription
Visit to Blackrock Castle
After an hour of enjoyment, pleasant conversation and bell ringing we were off again with Garda another escort that brought us right into city centre, along the business hub on the South Mall and on to the Marina where the company Henry Ford & Son Limited manufactured many of the cars 0n the cavalcade as we progressed to Blackrock Castle for lunch.
Blackrock Castle is a castellated fortification located at Blackrock, about 2 km from the centre of Cork city on the banks of the River Lee in Ireland. Originally developed as a coastal defence fortification in the 16th century to protect upper Cork Harbour and port, the site now houses an observatory, visitor centre and restaurant.
In the late 16th century, the citizens of Cork appealed to Queen Elizabeth I to construct a fort at Blackrock to “repel pirates and other invaders”. In 1582 a fortification was built on the site, and later around 1600, a round tower was constructed to safeguard against pirates “carrying away” vessels entering the harbour. The earliest elements of this structure remaining today are a circular tower on the water’s edge, 10.5m in diameter, with walls 2.2m thick.
Blackrock Castle was in the ownership of the City of Cork following a charter of James I to the city in 1608. The castle is later referred to in the Council Book of Cork in 1613 and 1614. In 1722 the old four-storey tower was destroyed by fire and new one built by the citizens, costing £296.
Throughout this period, the castle was used by Cork Corporation for banquets and “convivial gatherings” – some associated with the custom of “throwing the dart”. This custom, dating to at least the 18th century, was held every three years in August, and involved a dart (an arrow about four feet long) being thrown by the Mayor from a boat, to indicate the Corporation’s jurisdiction over the harbour.
The castle entered private hands and for a time in the 20th century was used as a private residence, offices, rowing club headquarters, and restaurant. The building was reacquired by Cork Corporation in 2001, and work commenced on renovating and re-purposing the complex as an observatory and museum.
Having parked up in the Castle Yard, we were all ready for lunch at Blackrock Castle Restaurant.
During the lunch our Secretary presented guests and drivers with a special brass plaque minted for the occasion as a fond reminder of a special day in Ireland being chaufered around Cork in a Model T. The members came of their own will on a pro bono basis – just for the enjoyment and the sharing of the pleasures that come with the ownership of a Model T Ford.
To the members of An Garda- The Irish Police Force – we extend our grateful thanks for escorting us with professionalism and skill making the two journeys memorable for our guests. We consider their involvement true community support in aiding the drive for inbound tourism. The four serving members were presented with brass plaques. Thank you Officers.
Post lunch engagement between Club members and guests was all to short as we had to disembark our passengers at The River Lee Hotel by 5:00 pm, but in true Irish style this was hardly to be achieved.
We did set off nonetheless and took a journey once more down the Marina, into Cork city centre, passed by City Hall and An Garda Headquarters, along South Terrace, over Parliament bridge to Grand Parade, and west on to Washingtom Street to arrive at our final destination.
With Grateful Thanks
No article is complete without a word of thanks and acknowledgement to those who made this all happen. Our Tail End Charlie was ready and willing to assist should the need have arisen – thank you Seamus O’Callaghan.
Thank you to the traffic corps of An Garda – we do appreciate your help and assistance.
Thank you to Clemens von Beust and Livia von Alvensleben for choosing as the destination to celebrate the 2016 CD Trophy.
To the administrators and volunteers of St Anne’s Church for allowing us use of St Anne’s Park and visit to Shandon Bells.
To the management and staff of Cork Convention Bureau for attracting such worthy and adventurous tourists to Cork and making it all happen.
And the penultimate paragraph gives thanks to The Lord and Lady Mayoress for attending and extending the Cork hospitality to our guests
Finally, to the 45 visitors from Germany and the 15 owner drivers of Model T Ford cars, thank you very much for coming. We truly had a good time – it really was a fun day in Cork.