Historic tractor returns home after half a century

The people of a North Kilkenny parish are gearing up for a historic moment this weekend, as a vintage tractor – one of the first ever tractors in Castlecomer in the 1950s – makes a triumphant return home after decades away.

The people of a North Kilkenny parish are gearing up for a historic moment this weekend, as a vintage tractor – one of the first ever tractors in Castlecomer in the 1950s – makes a triumphant return home after decades away.

Local man Leslie Booth bought the single-cylinder Lanz tractor brand new from JJ Power in Ferns, Wexford in 1958. He drove it back to his home in Gurteen, Castlecomer.

The tractor – still very much a novelty in the area in those times – was used not just on his own farm, but was also contracted out to other local farmers, for towing, cutting and tillage.

It was then sold in 1967 – traded in for a new Ford model. Over the years, it changed hands a number of times.

It was owned by a farmer in Kells, where it worked until 1971, before being bought by its present owner. Now, it has been lovingly fully restored, only completely finished last week.

It will be unveiled once again at the Clogh Vintage Club road run this coming weekend. One of the event’s organisers, Tom Murphy, says it will be a nostalgic moment for the local community.

“The tractor has been absent from the parish for decades, and now it is coming home again,” he says.

“It will make its ‘debut’ on Sunday back where it all began. The original owner is now in his eighties, and it will be a proud moment for him.”

The adjoining picture shows four local lads enjoying the novelty of the tractor in the early sixties, before it departed the parish. All four boys (now men, obviously) will be reunited with the tractor 50 years on this Sunday – those of you unable to work out who they are will just have to go along and find out on the day.

Around 25 vintage tractors are expected to turn out for the 25-mile run beginning at Cloneen Hurling Club to Swan to Timahoe and then back to Clogh. It is also open to old cars, trucks and bikes.

The event is being held to raise funds for local causes and charities. To date, over E18,000 has been collected for the event over previous years.

The Clogh Vintage Club fifth annual road run takes place on Sunday, August 26 in Cloneen Hurling Club, beginning at 12pm. All are welcome to attend and take part. Registration is at 11am.

For further information, enquiries, or a sponsorship card, contact 087-2130432 or 087-7697479.