KINSALE TOUR 2015
With Singleton over and done with, club members readied themselves
and their trusty classics for the annual trip over to Ireland for the Kinsale
weekend with our twinned club the Kinsale Vintage and Classic Motor
Club, who were holding their 26th Annual International Rally. As far as I
can make out from them, Swansea Historic Vehicle Register has attended
all of them bar the first one. That is a real testament to the friendship that
has grown between the two clubs over that time and a measure of what
our hobby can bring about between people.
This year saw a large Swansea contingent heading for the Ferry and on to
the Emerald Isle. We had 17 vehicles and 36 members making the trip.
Chris Thomas decided to take one of Johnny Thomasís Ford model Tís
and three of his friends. Unbeknown to Chris until almost time to go, was
the fact that Johnny had sold the intended T. Enter plan B. Dad had two
model Tís, therefore take number two!
A number of us travel over on the Wednesday to split the journey and
have a break after the rigours of Singleton. Eight cars set off for
Pembroke Dock after meeting up at the Pont Abraham service area. First
stop is The Old Mill Cafť at Llanddowror, for one of their superb cooked
breakfasts. We had pre-booked, so the owners were not caught off guard
and they served the ordered meals nice and quickly. Good food it was
too, you should try it if you are in the area. Cars fuelled, people fuelled,
off we go. Pembroke Dock here we come!
The weather up till now had been
good but a touch drafty. When we arrived at the ferry terminal it was a
lot drafty. Howling gale would be a reasonable description. It looked like
a bumpy crossing ahead of us thisafternoon. In fact a walk to the
terminal building was ok walkingdown to it, but trying to walk back
up to the car needed a lot of effort from the old legs, much to one or two
onlookerís amusement. Hope they get seasick!
Safely dosed up with travel pills, we boarded the Isle of Inneshannon and
made our way to the lounge ready to sail across a very windy Irish Sea. It
was ok as long as you didnít need to walk far. I do not have sea-legs,
mine are meant strictly for dry land only!
After an evening meal and a good nightís rest, it was up early to meet the
overnight travellers for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. This year we had
a large number of first time visitors making the trip, which was nice to
see and the hotel was quite happy to accommodate all our extra guests
and made everyone at home in a typically Irish fashion. Well fed, it was
time for the SHVR convoy to hit the road and head south.
Thursday evening, after our journey, the Irish had arranged for us to have
a fish & chip supper in the newly refurbished and enlarged Dinoís
restaurant on the quayside. It was just as well they had enlarged the
seating area, we filled the place (or is that plaice?) but they served us all
quickly without fuss and the food was superb.
Friday morning and it was off to Cork for the day on a bus trip organised
by the Kinsale club. The weather was rather wet, a problem we rarely
encounter on our visits to Kinsale. Talking of the weather, a little tip for
any of you travelling around by car. Do NOT leave your umbrella and
coat in the boot of the car overnight, especially if you have left the car in
the furthest reaches of the hotel carpark. The weather gods really like
people who do just that, and are extremely generous with lashings of rain
as you try to gain access to the contents of the boot rapidly, grasping for
the coat to stave off the rain. To help matters, lots of car designers work
hand in hand with the previously mentioned deities and design boot lids
to deposit all the collected water into the depths of the boot-well. Thus
ensuring that anything left in the boot will turn mouldy before you can
dry it out on the next dry day. Luckily for the ladies, it rained all day, so
it wasnít so hard to get their husbands into lots of shops and into the dry.
A feat that would normally involve herds of horses etc.
Later on the way back to Kinsale, we stopped off at a local coffee and
food shop, where they supplied everyone with tea or coffee and a
selection of homemade cakes to round off the trip.
In the evening we were entertained in a new bar opened by one of their
members, a chap who provides them with a lot of sponsorship in the form
of free drinks, food and outside catering on the Sunday run starting point.
The English Market, Cork. Free coffee and cakes for all.
Saturday as always is the main International Rally day. All the cars line
up in the main street, which eventually blocks the whole road. A feature
that the locals take surprisingly well, as it does make things awkward for
getting around the town by car for everyone not involved in the rally.
You never hear raised voices like you would over here if we did the same
Chrisís Model T made it, 4 up! Brian Selbyís Healey and admirers.
As usual, the Swansea cars are normally the early birds. Parking up out
of the way and going back to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast. With the
start plan based on Irish time i.e. sometime between now and then, there
was plenty of time for our first-timers to wander around the town and get
their bearings or have a coffee or ice-cream break, or even worse,
Keith supervises Neville. The main road fills up with cars.
The weather did at least co-operate and remained dry. At least we were
going to be able to drive with the hoods down and enjoy the scenery.
Patrick and Brian Davies were going to have a boyís day out in the
Zephyr, leaving the ladies to have some more retail therapy at their
leisure. Chris Thomas and the boys were just going to have fun!
Daniel had shown some footage from an onboard camera at the
clubnight, which caught Patrickís eye. So armed with his own camera kit,
he decided to mount it on the Zephyr and film the Saturday road run in
glorious colour. The film is to be shown at a future club night. Watch this
space for details.
The Director checking his equipment. A rival Zephyr in the queue.
KINSALE PART DEUX
The main Rally is always on the Saturday, with the whole of the main
road through the centre of the town given over to the assembled cars,
which this year contained a number of new ones belong to members
making the trip for the first time.
The route took us through some lovely views, made more enjoyable by
being able to go topless savouring the fresh air. The route guide contains
some typically Irish place names, I know, being in Ireland it would. I
know! With place names like Innishannon, Clonakilty and Skibbereen on
the way, we made our way to the village of Ballinscarthy with the
specific instruction to look out for the Model T on the left (more of
which in Robís article further on).
Ballinscarthy is the village home of Henry Fordís grandfather and the
Model T is a tribute to the familyís roots from the local community. Sally
and I have been through the village before but managed to miss the
monument by not paying attention to the scenery. We were determined
not to miss out this time. Thinking we had missed it yet again, we were
busy planning a return trip that afternoon when lo and behold, there it
was in front of us. We pulled in sharply and parked, only to find that
nearly everyone behind also parked up. It seems they all wanted a
photograph on the shiny tribute.
Marissa takes Daniel for a ride. This is how you drive a Model T
So many of us sat on the Model T, Iím sure we must have made the seat
even more polished. Oh to have been a professional photographer, I
would have made a fortune!
Time to stop playing and get on with the route, and head for the lunch
halt where the food was provided free of charge. Not like the UK.
The Mountain House lunch halt. One way of keeping revellers in check
Fed and watered, it was back to Kinsale to get ready for the annual
dinner dance and awards presentation at Actons Hotel later in the
evening. SHVR members did well on the award front with Brian and
Jane Selby collecting two awards with their Healey 3000.
Sunday is a later start time in consideration of the lack of sleep or over
indulgence enjoyed the night before. Meeting at the Pier and Yacht Club
for the shorter Sunday run, the assembled entrants were treated to hot
homemade soup and finger food to keep them going during the day.
The run took us out to the Old Head of Kinsale to see the renovated
Signal Tower. The towers were strategically placed around the coastline
dating back to 1804. The restoration of this one had only just been
completed, with building work still apparent around the outside gardens
and car parking areas. The time of our visit coincided with hurricane
winds which were bad enough in the carpark, but at the top of the tower
it made standing still an ordeal on the ramparts. On a clear day Iím sure
the views would be spectacular but with eyes watering in the cold gale it
was a bit too hazy to appreciate. Time to descend the internal stairs,
thankfully out of the wind for a while. Still, it was dry enough to look
A Signal Tower full of visitors. What a view over the new carpark.
The new memorial garden to the 1198 victims of the Lusitania sinking.
We took a walk down to see the new memorial garden which had only
been opened on the Thursday before our visit, in memory of the sinking
of the Lusitania by a U-Boat a mere 8 miles off the Old Head during the
First World War with the loss of 1198 civilian lives 100 years ago.
As always our time in Kinsale was drawing to a close as we headed back
to the Friars Lodge. It would be time to head back up north to board our
ferry for the return journey to Wales in the morning.
We had a larger group this year which was good to see. Everyone
enjoyed themselves and we have made a few converts for future trips.
Things can only get better!