Twenty four enthusiasts in fourteen cars participated in this year’s Wolseley Register Irish tour. Twenty two met at Caernarvon on Friday 13th, travelling to Holyhead and the ferry the next morning.
Driving through Dublin is quite an experience, which resulted in many Wolseleys getting lost and even had Bob and Jan return to the port in an attempt to try and navigate their route through for a second time. However, other members avoided the embarrassment by following local member Paul, who had kindly met us off the ferry in order to escort us through the city. After Dublin, we headed for Carlow, visiting the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens, (well, those who could find it….). At Carlow, we were joined by members Philip and Sal from near Cork in their beautiful Series II 25hp.
The next day saw us driving over the Slieve Bloom mountains, past Birr, Portumna and around Lough Derg past Kilaloe. Many of us stopped at Portumna for a coffee and found a lovely cafe whose owner was so welcoming and helpful in the real Irish tradition. In the afternoon, we visited Bunratty Castle and Heritage Folk Park, before arriving at our
accomodation at Spanish Point on the west coast of Ireland and facing the Atlantic Ocean. The day’s drive for most of us, although long, went without hitch, mainly becuase of Philip’s help and knowledge of the route. However, we did have one casualty, where a Wolseley damaged its hydro-elastic suspension after hitting a pothole, which put it out of action for the rest of the week. The occupants then had to hitch lifts for the week, (no names mentioned in order to save the chairman’s blushes……).
Stopping here for 2 nights, enabled drivers to have an easier day with many doing their own choice, but with most crossing the River Shannon by ferry to visit the Foynes Flying Boat museum. Here, we met by coincidence, a Wolseley 4/44 which although owned by a non member, actually had a Register member in
the car with him! The museum depicts the rise and fall of the early flying boat flights between America and Ireland, and contains a fascinating insight to the early transatlantic flying history.
The following day saw us driving another long route up to Renvyle, again, right on the West coast, where we stopped for another 2 nights. The drive was long, but had some spectular scenery, although unfortunately some of it was in mist. We first stopped at the cliffs of Moher, a spectacular length
of very high, sheer cliffs, and then we drove around ‘The Burren’, a large area of unque limestone geology looking somewhat like a lunar landscape… Further up, we drove round the 3 peninsulars, one of which is famously known as the ‘Sky Road’.
Another ‘rest day’ followed which again enabled drivers to do as they wished. Some visited the white sand beaches of Gowlaun. In the afternoon, many visited the most picturesque Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, which is a working nunnery, and which is set on the side of the beautiful Pollacapall Lough.
Philip and Sal left the tour the next morning, but not before group photos of the cars and particpants were taken. It was lovely to meet them both and we all hope that they will join us on another rally in the future.
The rest of us then headed eastwards on a long drive to Enfield. Whilst most participants stopped of to visit the Tullamore Dew Whiskey Heritage Centre, Mike, Bob and Jan paid a visit to another local member. Jason has a very original 14/56 which we wanted to see, but he needs the correct shock aborbers (or at least the arms) for it and both Mike and I have been struggling to locate any, so if anyone is able to help Jason out, please contact Bob, who will pass the message on. What really surprised us though, was Jason’s other car, a 1913 Philos, a French car, and one of only two known to exist in Europe.
The last day saw us heading back to Dublin and the ferry, visiting Malahide Castle and Gardens on route. Landing back at Holyhead, most participants went their own way back home, however 5 Wolseleys stayed on Anglesey in order to visit the Anglesey Vintage Rally.
Local Anglesey member Syd, joined us at the rally in his lovely 14/56 Salon de Ville, making quite an impressive line up of 6 Wolseleys. This was an excellent show which Syd had kindly made us aware of as an addendum to our tour – a great finale! The Anglesey Show is a large, agricultural type show, with many steam engines, tractors, cars and commercials present, plus many other trade stands displaying.
The tour was considered to be a huge success and everyone enjoyed it immensely. A few points have been noted for future improvement, notably some long day drives, and some poor route directions supplied by the tour company, but we hope that we can now build on this for further Register tours in the future. Many thanks to Mike for coordinating the event with the tour company!
Postscript: The fact that the damaged Wolseley was repaired within 4 days, enabling it to be driven home on the booked ferry, is testament I believe, to both the great teamwork and comradeship within our tour group, and also to the fantastic help from a local Irish garage. Within the d day period, a part had been sourced, shipped to Ireland (via Germany…..), collected by the garage, fitted, a hydro-elastic pump located and ‘borrowed’, and then the car shipped to an agreed collection point, for it to be picked up and brought home, and all achieved with the owners missing very little of their holiday.. An excellent result, even if perhaps an unwanted and expensive inconvenience for the owner!