Innishannon Steam & Vintage Rally June 2022

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We planned for a static show if nothing else but to build up the brand of the Austin Seven and promote our Club.  The 25th Innishannon Steam & Vintage Rally was picked as a good spot and something different; and June in early summer perhaps weather dependable.  As it turned out, there was a huge turnout of vehicles of all sorts matched by flocks of visitors to come and look and smell the country side and the hue of steam.  Whilst it was not raining, it would be fair so say it was a damp day.  It was especially fine and dry where patrons took to their picnic chairs to enjoy their lunch and a chat amongst old acquaintances and new friends.

Exactly one hundred years ago, on the 5th June 1922, the first three examples of the Austin Seven were announced to the public at the Works Gala. Whilst many were sceptical we must thank Sir Herbert Austin for his foresight and courage in bringing enjoyment to millions of motorists and which continues to do so to this day. A double celebration on this Jubilee weekend.

It was fitting that once again our Austin Seven Club is synonymous with the number seven.  As a reminder when we formed the Club we had seven founders signing up.  Today we had seven cars of different colours and styles.  Two of the chummies were early pram hood style, both green in colour but different; one light green and the other dark.  The two Ulster Sevens contrasted very well, a deep blue with contrasting chrome metal work and a pillar box red Ulster with black wings. 

The other Sevens were well presented and attractive.  An observant passer-by would note that of all the cars neatly parked up in the extensive paddock, it was the Austin Seven pitch that was the showcase for the day.  No doubt at all.  iPhones to the ready, smiles on their faces and plenty of enquiries  of the very little cars of a bygone age.  Put briefly, hardly any stroller failed to stop and admire.  At least, that is how it appeared to be.

Just a few words about the static show. Over 1,000 exhibits – The exhibits include huge tractors, threshers, unique cars, motorbikes, oil and steam engines as well as experiencing a working forge. There was also a pet’s corner, always popular with children, a cake sale, numerous stands and stalls with art and craft displays, a dog show, sheep dog trials, road rolling. This was fun-day out for collectors, enthusiasts and visitors alike with car parking and camping facilities set up in the village.

Holiday Weekend 2022! It was held on a 38 acre venue one mile from Innishannon Village, continuing Innishannon’s association with the steam and vintage rally, which has built up over the last 50 years (Upton Steam rally ran from 1969 to 1996).

About Innishannon itself,  it dates back to the sixth century and is surrounded by an ancient woodland and castle ruins, located at and developed around an important crossing-point on the River Bandon. Formerly controlled by the de Barry family, the area was used as a ferry point on the river from at least the early medieval period.  Inishannon received a market and fair grant in 1256, and was given a royal charter in 1412.  Writing in the mid-18th century, the antiquarian Charles Smith described Inishannon as “formerly walled and a place of some note”. 

Innishannon Tower, the remains of a mid-18th century church, are built on the site the much earlier medieval parish church of Inishannon.  In 1837, Inishannon village had a population of approximately 650 people.  By the 2016 census of Ireland, It had a population of 907, a near threefold increase in the 25 years since the 1991 census, when the village had 319 inhabitants? 

At the appointed hour, we gathered our belongings,  cranked up our steeds and headed for home.  As with a National Club, locals were favoured with an hour of driving whereas long distance visitors tend to enjoy  the change of scenery, the opportunity to mix and mingle and enjoy the company of fellow enthusiasts. It was a good day out and we all enjoyed ourselves.  That in essence is what it is all about. 

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A one marque organisation, catering for the Austin Seven, is what makes The Irish Austin Seven Club unique. Prospective owners are always welcome to make contact with our membership who will be pleased to present and demonstrate the Seven’s special characteristics and driving experience.

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