Inaugural Run – Sunday 26th July 2020
Cahir Castle was the meeting point for members of the Irish Austin Seven Club to have their first get together for an Sunday spin. We were pleased that eight colleagues turned up with apologies for non attendance from a further four.
Across the square from Cahir Castle is a delightful restaurant serving all sorts confectionery and beverages where we soon gravitated for our elevens. It is the River House Cafe and we rate it highly. After the exchanging of morning greetings, our leader for the day Colin Pressey got us fired up and ready to go promptly at 11:45 am. For end of July the weather was kind with a little mix of haze and dark clouds but overall warm and dry.
We proceeded east heading for Mount Melleray Abbey taking in the villages of Ardfinnan and Newcastle. For many of us this was our first time travelling along these secondary roads. Views aplenty of lush pasture lands, zero traffic and roads most suitable for Sevens.
As we got nearer our lunchtime destination the gradient changed as did the scenery. Nonetheless the little sevens pulled with aplomb midst the rocky sheep rearing landscape where after a little while we reached the Abbey safe and well.
Mount Melleray Abbey is a Trappist monastery in Ireland, founded in 1833. It is situated on the slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains, near Cappoquin, Diocese of Waterford. It is famous in literature due to Seán Ó Ríordáin’s poem Cnoc Mellerí in Eireaball Spideoige. The monastic tradition of hospitality dates back to the earliest monks and was incorporated by St. Benedict into his Rule.
In fact, monasteries were the hostels of early medieval Europe. Mount Melleray has welcomed guests since its inception and continues to share with visitors an atmosphere of peace and quiet that facilitates private prayer, reading, reflection and daily participation with the monks in the Divine Office and Mass.
The dreadful Covid-19 has brought to our country a state where we must keep our distance from one another, pay particular attention to regular hand washing and avoid congregated settings as much as possible. Our answer to this call is to arrange picnic runs, this one being the first, on a trial basis to see and test its feasibility.
Happily we may report it as a resounding success as all present enjoyed themselves particularly in the surroundings of the Abbey and the magnificent views of the plain lands as they rise up to the Knockmealdown Mountains.
After a stroll around the Abbey gardens it was time to crank up again and head for our next stop, the delightful passage through the Vee. In his book “In Search of Ireland“, HV Morton called the Vee Gap Road one of the grandest views in the (then) British Isles. In 1847, during the Famine, The Vee Road was built as part of a poor law relief scheme and today winds its way through forest and fertile open land to the historic town of Lismore.
At the right time of year – mostly late spring or early summer – the Vee Road is dressed in purple rhododendron. It’s a quiet twisting road of sheep and tractors. Photo opportunities are plentiful, and a striking chain of hills, the Knockmealdown Mountains, rises to the south while the Comeraghs dominate further east.
After a pause to regroup and admire the scenery from where one can see on a clear day five counties in Munster, we were off travelling through leafy glens that dissected through the mountainous countryside in scenic grander and colour where we arrived back a Cahir Castle for our closing meetup and farewells.
We resolved that we would meet again. Thanks to long standing Seven enthusiast Patrick Dwyer we set down the last Sunday in August for our next assembly where we meet up at 10:30 am and will be guided around the Glen of Aherlow.
We hope that our members will be attracted to the joys of travelling with one marque pre-war vehicles and will fall in and enjoy each others interest and company.
In closing this article we wish to record our special thanks to Colin Pressey for initiating our first gathering. We are grateful Mark Pressey for having breakdown facilities on hand for us for the duration, which as a compliment to our members, he was not called upon.