Carlow Weekend: 2nd and 3rd September 2023
The Super Blue Moon was visible for all to see in Carlow and around the world. It was great to see this rare supermoon at its peak thus creating memories. Likewise, the well heralded Carlow weekend hosted by our Chairman Declan Grogan was a super event; fantastic weather, well turned-out Sevens and members participating in the hobby they love.
The drivers’ briefing and route sheets were distributed, and Declan extended a special welcome to guests from Wales. We were off at 11:00 am and no sooner than we got going we were at our first stop at Milford Bridge, a few miles from our rally base.
Milford is a pleasant stop on the River Barrow which was once the centre of a thriving milling industry. The mill at Milford was established in the 1790s and was one of the most extensive and celebrated in Ireland. Electricity was generated from Milford in 1891, providing Carlow with the distinction of being the first inland town in Ireland and Britain to receive electric power.
Carlow Weekend: Saturday 2nd September 2023
This idyllic setting features a woodland area, containing an aquatic triangle rich in wildlife with a diversity of plants, animals and habitats. A large family of Mallard Ducks were aplenty adding to our enjoyment.
We proceeded at a leisure pace in convoy, enjoying the countryside at its best with roads carefully chosen to be sympathetic to our early pre-war light cars, where our journey would encircle the River Barrow.
We passed through the town of Leighlinbridge, over its significant bridge, leading on to Nurney Village where close by we stopped for morning refreshments at the Fighting Cocks Pub. Here is a facility to be recommended; safe and adequate parking, a food hut providing delicious savouries and benches for all to sit, enjoy and take in the noon sunshine.
We continued on our trip with another stop at Kellistown Church. St. Osnadh`s Church in Kellistown is a ruined nineteenth-century Church of Ireland church with remains of the medieval church behind.
Situated on an elevated site overlooking the rich rural countryside, this ruinous First Fruits church dates from 1810. It has an austere simplicity and comprises a three-bay nave with lime-rendered walls and pointed windows.
The earliest church to occupy the site was a monastery associated with St. Osnadh. Declan encouraged the brave souls to stand atop the boundary wall and gaze left and right to take in the magnificent colourful countryside.
Off again the convoy went heading for the centre of Carlow town parking up at the Visual Arts Centre. We were invited to enter, see and admire the workmanship of many artisans whose craft were on display.
The huge halls had the benefit of natural daylight and neutral wall rendering meaning the colours of their offerings were amplified. We then strolled up as far as Tullow Street where we entered Carlow County Museum.
The premises a former convent, with which careful architectural planning and design, was remodelled into a building of character with displays of interest across a host of subjects, which we understand are time rotated so as to offer a fresh appeal to visitors. We were well pleased and happily set off to Killeshin and Rossmore for a stop.
We were advised that the terrain would change from flat riverside land to an elevated climb at an average 4% grade, some less and some more. The trusted Sevens had no bother whatsoever, but we did have a cooling off time while we gazed down on a panoramic view of Carlow town and its hinterland. Another great memory.
Then, downhill all the way to Royal Oak Bagenalstown where we parked up alongside a disused petrol station with an age related abandoned single pump. Hopefully it will stand the test of time for others to admire.
Here President Grogan called all for a group photograph, if nothing else but to record the presentation of a hand turned beech bowl, presented to Howard and Elizabeth, our special guests who hail from Wales and joined in with us.
The Parlour at Doyle’s Royal Oak is something unique, delightful and not to be missed. Here they have crafted a resting spot with plenty of coffee and ice cream choices, which no doubt, we enjoyed to our hearts content.
We returned to Woodford Dolmen Hotel for group dinner at 7:30 pm with ample time to catch up on the whistlestop River Barrow tour and enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company.
Carlow Weekend: Sunday 3rd September 2023
Sunday morning was equally warm and fine, adorned by a hazel blue sky, as equally significant as the blue moon. We drove along the rural countryside, soon to see the ruin of Duckett’s Grove in the distance. A long driveway to the old manor beckoned; we parked up in the adjoining car park; a wonderful place with outbuildings converted into shops, tourist information and restaurant facilities.
Duckett’s Grove is considered to be one of the finest Gothic Mansions and demesne in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, consisted of twelve thousand acres spread across five counties.
Coffee and slices of Victorian sponge cake was enjoyed by all in the blistering noon sunshine.
We had a delightful stop in Clonegal at The Weavers Cottages, built by alexander Durdin in the late 17th century. The Weavers Cottages were lived in by weavers when the trade was at its height and now feature many items, artefacts, furniture and pictures from bygone times.
The development comprises a pair of semi-detached, two-bay, single-storey dormer cottages with attic conversion. Beautiful heritage garden to the rear featuring a variety of vegetables, and plants grown for the dyeing of wool used in weaving.
The curator gave us of his time, showed us the artefacts of the early 20th century that were in daily use. We took individual photos of our cars in front qwithna promise to pass on to our hosts website.
Next, another steady assent beyond Bunclody to Nine Stones, atop of Mount Leinster. What a trip to behold for our memories! The drive up was spectular as was the vista. We were not alone, motorcyclists, walkers, cyclists and hand gliders, like ourselves, were enjoying cool ice cream in the warm summer breeze at the summit Mount Leinster. We bade Adiew to our Welsh couple with an encouragement to visit us again with their friends where once again they will be assured of a repeat a cead mile failte from our club members.
We arrived at our rally base in plenty of time to get home in daylight, no matter our home.
We had a collection of cars admired by passersbys wherever we went. Our group comprised of people from Antrim, Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Tipperary, Waterford and of course Wales.
Our enjoyment of each other’s company and the pleasure of taking our cars on a road trip in scenic Carlow will remain in our memories, just like the blue moon. Hopefully, it will not be too long when we may foregather again.
As your scribe signs off, we say thank you for your participation with grateful thanks to Declan and Nuala for making it all happen.