Steam engines and exhibits, and good family fun, were the mark of this weekend’s Dunbell Vintage Rally.
Saturday kicked off with the second annual Bill Byrne Memorial tractor road run taking off from Connolly’s cross despite the terrible weather. They meandered around the country roads and returned to Dunbell, where there were some steam engines in steam at the cross ready to start off the evening entertainment.
There were eight steam engines and one fair organ steaming into the night. There was a Spin the John Deere wheel contest on the cross which was won by local man Dick Healy. There was a night of music, dancing, barbecue and great craic.
Sunday morning saw the arrival of vintage tractors and cars to the rally field. The rally was officially opened by Johnny Barry. Among the 16 steam engine, including a steam wagon, were some unusual engines such as the oldest Ransomes Simms and Jefferies engine in preservation owned by Glynns of Carlow.
The winner of the Steam Engine section was a coffee pot steam roller from Cork. The owners, O’Callaghans, were presented with the Dina Dreeling memorial cup by Sylvia Morris, Gowran.
There was also a great turnout of vintage tractors with some rusty 1900s tractors in their original condition to fully restored tractors looking as resplendent as the day they left the factory. There were 16 modified classic tractors demonstrating tractor pulling for the crowds, while there were also some ploughing using 1940s implements.
The winners of the tractor sections were: Pat Looby, Johnstown with his 1917 International Titan. The TVO section was won by Paddy Lanigan with his Fordson Petrol TVO Major. He was presented with a trophy in memory of his grandfather, Jim Lanigan, a great tractor enthusiast. The winner of the Diesel Tractor Section was Joe Walsh, Waterford with his Fordson Super Major. He was presented with the Bill Byrne memorial trophy by Bill’s sister Margaret Logue, Clara.
The vintage car section included some rare old Ford and Austin cars and many classic cars. The winners of the car sections were Mick Morris with his Austin 8. He was presented with the Dick Maher memorial Trophy by Dick’s son, Brendan, from Goresbridge. The winner of the Classic Car section was Tom Comerford with his MG Roadster.
The stationary engine section was won by Stephen Delahunty with his Ruston and Hornsby Engine. The Artifact section was won by Ned Ryan, Blackwell, Bennettsbridge. The commercial section was won by Brian Kelly, Borris. The motorbike section was won by Michael Delaney. The model section was won by Tom Tynan, Carlow.
In total there were over 150 exhibits travelling from all over Ireland to Dunbell. The South East Model Club held their annual model show at the rally with hundreds of models on display including a large collection of John Deere models. The show also hosted the Top Gear Car Challenge. It was won by Francis O’Brien, Kilkenny.
There were other collections on display in marquees owned by members of the Gowran Vintage Club including displays of 1930s-1950s household items. There was also a large art and craft display at the rally from local people.
Other events during the rally included a children’s art competition won by Ben Kenneddy. The dog show was won by Roy Daniels with his dog Sam and the reserve champion was Barbara Stallard with her dog Pocket. The dog show was sponsored by Connollys Red Mill’s and the championship class was sponsored by Hennessy’s Garden centre.
The organisers of the rally were very pleased with the weekend and wish to thank all the people who helped to run this event and all the exhibitors and public who attended on the day.
See page 15 for images from the day.