Virginia: 14th May 2023

Alan and Sandra extended an invitation to all Model T members for a return visit to their home for a Spring run in counties Meath, West Meath and Cavan, promising an interesting 40-mile drive and a countryside picnic lunch.  The offer was taken up by 20 members with a further 10 sending apologies in advance, a very good indication of the popularity of our hosts and the border county.

Over the space of 30 minutes, 18 Model T Fords decoupled from their transporters and lined up in the freshly constructed car park while inside Sandra was busy at work preparing fresh home-made breakfasts for her guests.  Plenty of time in comfortable surroundings to catch up with friends and admire the Crafts of Ireland workshop tools and equipment as well as finished and part made garments.  The wool is collected from the grazing sheep and used by students and craft persons in applying themselves to their hobby.  The young lambs were delighted to see us and make a fuss with all the excitement of Model Ts and visitors.

In addressing the drivers, Alan said that our first stop was at Collinstown Farmers Market where advance notice was given of our arrival.  After a very engaging run in the Cavan hills and dales, we parked up in the village much to the admiration of locals and shoppers.  The market is well organised with a good mixture of produce for sale with friendly vendors offering very affordable price points.  The community hall was also used and presumably a backup venue where weather conditions prove to be too uncomfortable. 

Plenty of photographs were taken which are collated for your viewing pleasure.  Your scribe managed to forage for a picnic where we met with Helen Kelly of Lough Bishop House, Co Westmeath whose rhubarb tart and quichelet is to be recommended.  Alan came across a very nice shepherd’s crook made of chestnut and beech which he thought Sandra world appreciate.  She sure did, as the photo image will vouch.  Many of our T folk enjoyed morning coffee/teas and fresh scones from the hospitable mobile catering wagons.

When Alan was speaking back at home before we departed, he mentioned that we would be paying a visit to Killua Castle C15 EWF2 and that the owners had granted permission to enjoy our picnic lunch in the meadow below.  Killua is a historic castle located in the most romantic demesne in Ireland with links to Sir Walter Raleigh and Lawrence of Arabia. The castle, which long lay in ruins, has been fully restored and is now dedicated by the Krause Family in expressing and sharing their greatest passions: history, art, environmental conservation, regenerative farming, and gastronomy. 

Mr Allen Krause explained how he commenced the project 23 years ago and for starters there were trees growing inside the building.  Tim Crowley on account of his “eternal project” had plenty of experiences to share with our hosts where his ribbon cutting event for completion is merely 13 years hence.  The castle farm is host to several Irish Rare Breed animals which we were able to admire as we travelled up the long treelined avenue from the Lodge gated entrance to the main building.

After our picnic, we were invited inside to admire the outstanding craftsmanship that was poured into the building with loving tenacity.  The finishes are world standard and the décor and furnishings are excellent.  When it came to speechmaking, Tim Crowley stood in for our President Paul Murphy.  He presented Alan and Sandra Coote with a walnut turned bowl as a token of our appreciation for hosting the Spring run.  Tim, a fellow castle owner, was very pleased to convey our thanks to Allen and Lorena Krause and family by the presentation of a turned bowl made of walnut as a keepsake souvenir memento of our visit.

When Alan spoke at home, he had hoped we would make a visit to Castlekeeran, St Ciarans Holy Well, High Crosses and 7th century monastic site.  Alas, we had too much fun in the castle and so we deferred this stop for another day.  Nonetheless, our journey back to base was more than we expected.  The terrain in County Cavan is very suitable for Model Ts chugging along.  The roads are free of traffic, they are adequate and safe with undulating hills not presenting a challenge even to the most inexperienced drivers. 

We had the pleasure of meeting with two new members on their first venture out with us and we earnestly hope we will see them again.  Gerry McCabe a keen amateur photographer with instrument to hand clicked away to his heart’s content.  His compilation of images is embedded in this article for your enjoyment.  What else can we ascribe to this delightful run in Springtime May 2023, good weather, great company, safe driving.  Thank you again to Alan and Sandra for making us all such a happy bunch.  We will surely return.

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