SHVR KINSALE TOUR 2012
May means Singleton, swiftly followed by the annual visit to Kinsale for their International Rally and our get together with friends in the Irish club.
The plan was for those going to meet up at the Little Chef in St. Clears for the traditional early breakfast/brunch. So it was that eight cars met up in the carpark and SHVR took over the restaurant much to the delight of the manageress. Newcomers this year were Adrian and Julie Skyrme in their Peugeot ZXR, in place of their TR6 which unfortunately suffered clutch problems. The other newcomer was Des Sutton, cousin to our Ted Purcell, who was making a return to the emerald Isle having missed the trip the previous year through ill health. Des was to keep an eye on Ted but Iím not sure who kept their eye on whom in the end.
This year we all decided to drive straight from the ferry to Kinsale and have a bite to eat after settling into the hotel, another first was we all stayed in the same hotel for a change. Good for us, but a bit hard on the staff first thing in the morning as we all piled down for breakfast.
Friday was to be a free day to relax or go where you want. Sally and I decided to go to Cobh, departure point of the Titanic, to see the exhibition. More poignant now in the centennial year of the loss.
The exhibit was well laid out and was in the old offices of the White Star Line. The departure point for all those passengers boarding in Ireland.
The interactive guide through the Titanic display showed what you got as a third class passenger as opposed to the first class opulence. The ticket you receive on entry is a facsimile of a genuine ticket issued in Cobh, and at the end of the tour you can check the passenger list on screen to find out if you were a survivor or not. Sally was, but I as a gentleman, went down with the ship!
Friday evening and itís the Mayorís reception with wine and nibbles for all the clubs entered. This year there were some entries from the Stag Club as well as the normal entries from the Porsche Club.
SHVR made a presentation to the Mayor of Kinsale, this year presented by our President, Mike Worthington-Williams who had travelled over with Mike Green.
Following on from the civic reception, we adjourned to the Tap Tavern, another of the Kinsale clubís supporters, for a drink and a chat.
Looking around as you do, I spotted a rather odd looking light shade on the ceiling light. Pint glasses!
The ceiling lights were actually specially made Guinness lights. The ceiling rose was an ashtray; the stem was a large Guinness bottle with a tray for the base. The five lights each had a Guinness pint tankard as a shade. All made with Guinness bar items, but professionally done.
You wonít see them on the Antiques Roadshow!
Time for a quick visit to the Blue Haven, another of the major sponsors for the weekend, and then it was time to head back to the hotel for a well-earned rest.
Saturday is the main Rally day and as always the main street is given over to the cars. The locals must have a hard time getting about with all the restrictions, but you never see any signs of bad temper from them.
The route for the day would take the cars south from Kinsale, through Castlepark, Sandy Cove and around the Old Head of Kinsale. A tour through some really scenic areas with lots of stunning views. Further along the route we came across an old Standard going for gold on the country roads. He certainly wasnít taking any prisoners!
The lunch halt had been arranged at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, a hotel we had come across on our first visit to Ireland when we extended our stay to see a bit more of the country.
The hotel carpark was full of rally cars, much to the delight of residents who had the chance to walk around the impromptu car show, while the crews enjoyed lunch and music in the restaurant.
The afternoon route was a small loop around some real Irish roads of West Cork. Where there was a change of direction, the Kinsale club had placed little arrows in the banks to point you in the right direction. Fine if you see them in time, or you are concentrating instead of talking to your passenger. The MG has good high performance brakes. Tedís Riley has good vintage brakes, so when we saw the little arrow at the last minute and slammed on the brakes, we just made the turn. Ted on the other hand sailed past us with his brakes doing their best to retard the Riley and had to reverse back to the junction, no doubt he and Des were discussing our parentage at the time.
Following the road, we found ourselves on what can only be described as a goat track. Surely it couldnít be a road to anywhere other than a farm. Still, press on as they say, climbing higher up the hillside we crested the hill and were confronted by a fabulous view over Castletownsend.
Getting back to tarmac roads, we looped back to Rosscarbery and on to Kinsale. Time to get ready for the dinner, this time in the Trident Hotel.
Sunday was to be a relaxed start to allow sore or sleepy heads time to recover from the night before. The plan was to meet up at the Yacht Club for about 12 o/clock, for a gentle run through the local scenery and back for a dinner in the Blue Haven with the presentation of awards.
This time our visit coincided with the Blessing of the Boats ceremony at the Pier head. A multi-faith ceremony where the fishing, lifeboats and naval vessels and crews receive a blessing and a wreath is taken out into the outer waters in memory of lost souls.
The run started after the ceremony had finished, and was a change from the intended convoy run originally intended. Irish run, Irish route. Leave Kinsale uphill! After passing Keith Floydís old house turn right!! Luckily we followed Eugene in his immaculate Vauxhall Velox; at least he would know where to go. We went through some amazing coves and villages. If you wanted a seafront property, there were some built right on the edge. No one would ever build in front of you.
After a short run from Minane Bridge, we came upon the lunch halt at the Overdraft Bar. A small old pub on the side of the road, with wood paneled walls and mirrors no doubt as old as the pub. A characterful interior. Although I can only guess at the origins of such an unusual name for an Irish pub, as most appeared to be named after the owner or place name. Perhaps you could get a pint and a bank loan all in one!
After our overdrawn lunch, it was back to Kinsale for a brush and clean up in time for a last dinner with our friends from Kinsale in the Blue Haven. Followed by the bit everyone dreads Ė The Awards!!
A good trip with good friends. Canít wait for next year!