I had met up with a couple of lads from the Sandymount Club (Dublin) on my way home from a St Nicks Rally, and they had told me how good the Irish Rallies were. (Where are you now Lorcan Casey and Mick Macnamara?)
So . . . .
I talked a few of the Dean Valley into going over to Ireland to do the Shamrock Rally. We booked onto the overnight B&I boat from Liverpool to Dun Laoghaire (Dublin), Pete & Janet, Big Bob, Phil and myself.
The bikes were parked up in the terminal (loading was about 11pm) and we took the opportunity to explore the Dock Road area of Liverpool on a Friday night! An experience!! Of course it's all posh now with the Albert Dock development, but this was the early seventies and the REAL Liverpool! We eventually got our bikes loaded on board and we checked out the ship's bar. It was down in the hold and pretty well crowded. Then we discovered the duty free shop ... Vodka £1.50 a bottle!
The ferry was due in at about 6am and Mick was going to meet us and take us back to his parent's house for breakfast.
I knew we had overdone things a bit when there was an announcement on the tannoy that "breakfasts are being served in the cafeteria". We were still sat playing cards and drinking! Most of our Vodka supplies seemed to have evaporated overnight!
The fun started just getting off the ferry. Bob was on a Honda Gold Wing. He was convinced that the clutch had gone; he was revving it up but going nowhere! It was on the centre stand! No problem, rock it off and away he went 5000 rpm in first gear and the car deck gained a black stripe all the way down to the quay side. IMPRESSIVE!! The rest of us had to take it steady because there suddenly seemed to be lots of deckhands directing us!
The next problem was that Pete and Janet on their Wing took the first turning left out of the docks. This was a railway siding, used to get the Guinness tankers onto the Ferry!
After we got them back onto the road we went off with Mick to meet his parents. Actually they made us very welcome, but we all struggled with the huge fried breakfast we were given.
After gallons of coffee we set out for the Rally. What we hadn't expected was that it was a checkpoint style do involving a 300+ mile tour around the west coast! Not really what we needed ... but we all made it ... JUST. With all the stops for more coffee it took ages!
I made my first visit to the cliffs of Moher; well I fell asleep on top of the car park wall while the rest had a look round. (It was a year later before I actually saw the cliffs on the next years rally!)
I seem to remember that we ended up at a village somewhere near Dingle, (where the actual rally was based.) All the pubs were doing good business and they all seemed to have a resident fiddle player!
I had previously met up with Dr Margaret OReagan at a rally in England, so was not too shocked by her and shall we say her "exuberant" behavior. If I have to explain you obviously never met her, but believe me she was a legend in her own lifetime.
As can be expected, we had a bit of a quiet night, just a couple of beers and back to the tents. This was not so for most Rallyists. Had we been able it could have turned into another all night session!
Not many people were camping, the majority stayed in hotels or B&B.
The most surprising thing is that we were invited back! Or not so surprising being Ireland. I went over to several events in and around southern Ireland.
The scenery out west is fantastic. The weather can be a problem, there's a lot of "liquid sunshine". The roads in the seventies were unbelievably bad, but with the help of the EC this is now a thing of the past. The road signs were, and still can be confusing; is that distance in miles, kilometers, or just an Irish guesstimate?
But yes, the Irish rallies & the Craic are great!
- Ted Trett
Good report, lacked only pics.