The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2019. Meandering Monks & Medieval Miles. Our Inspiration William Bulfin was a journalist, travel writer…
The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018, took place on August 24th & 25th, and followed in the 'wheelrims' of William Bulfin. This year the Rally also celebrated the Return of the Seven Septs of Laois. The Tarbert Historical Society, brought with them from Co. Kerry, seven torches, each representing one of the families, that were banished from Co. Laois, by Crown forces, and relocated to the Kingdom, in 1601. Under Sentence of Death, should they ever return to the county, their descendants remain in Kerry to this very day. But the time had come for the Seven Septs to finally make their return! The seven torches arrived at the former O'More stronghold of Dunamase, to light up a Ceremonial Laois Sept Vessel, at a very special, and unique Heritage gathering on the Rock of Dunamase. The Bulfin cyclists merged with our Kerry visitors at Dunamase, during the Heritage Cycle, which included visits to Castle Durrow, the Irish Fly Fishing & Game Shooting Museum, Heywood Gardens, Timahoe Round Tower & Heritage Centre, Stradbally Evening Market Fare, Emo Court, Ballyroan, Pass of the Plumes, Abbeyleix Heritage House and Aylward's Rural Heritage Museum. Our 2019 event is now in planning, and we look forward to even more 'Heritage On A High Nelly' next year.
August 24th - August 25th 2018
WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT?
For many centuries before its plantation by the English, and its subsequent renaming as Queens County, Laois was under the control of Seven Septs (Local clan families). Following many bloody battles with the Crown forces, the surviving members of the Septs, were transplanted to Co. Kerry, being under sentence of death, should they ever return to Laois. The Septs were established in Kerry, as tenant farmers under their landlord, Patrick Crosbie, and their descendants remain in the Kingdom to this very day.
Excerpts from the book; “From Laois to Kerry” by Michael Christopher Keane
To mark the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, seven torches, representing the Seven Laois Septs, carried by the Tarbert Historical Society, will return from Co. Kerry to Laois to light up a Ceremonial Laois Sept Vessel, at a special Heritage gathering at the Rock of Dunamase in Laois.
For bookings & further details please contact Legends Vintage Cycle Club: Matt: 086 0537356 – Sean 087 1775651 – Mags 086 0570829 – Hugh 086 8694691 www.BulfinHeritageCycle.com – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Facebook: BulfinHeritageCycle – Twitter @BulfinCycle
Dates – August 24th & 25th 2018
Details: Day 1: Friday August 24th 2018
“Laois Lores”, Culture & Heritage Trail with “William Bulfin” (Sean Conroy) and a boyhood “Owney McRory O’More” (Oisin Conroy)
Rory Oge O’More was described in contemporary accounts by his English adversaries as the “Robin Hood” of Ireland. He was certainly regarded as a legend of his time, a romantic figure perhaps equated to Che Guevara by the native Irish who were fighting colonial rule during the Elizabethan Period. He wasn’t just a local hero but one of national importance, feared amongst his enemies and celebrated by his local clansmen.(Source: Laois Archaeology)
10.15am: Assembly at the Pavillion, CastleDurrow, Country House Hotel: Registration, Event Heritage Briefing, Welcome Reception and Introduction to our Austrian Visitors.
“I am Owney McRory O’More” (Oisin Conroy, in period costume) introduction to Laois Sept, O’More Family.
Opportunity to view CastleDurrow Gardens (tea/coffee served)
11.45am: Attanagh: Irish Fly Fishing & Game Shooting Museum:
Heritage talk with Walter Phelan.
(Fish & Game, period breakfast) Irish & Austrian traditional/folk music.
1.45pm: Heywood Gardens Ballinakill:
In the early 1900s, Colonel Hutchenson Poe hired the eminent architect Sir Edwin Lutyens to create formal gardens around Heywood House. The gardens were probably landscaped by Gertrude Jekyll. Although the house is gone, the gardens are among the best surviving example of Lutyens’ work in Ireland.
(Courtesy of Laois Heritage Trail).
Gee’s Gourmet Jams (Courtesy Call)
3pm: Round Tower & Heritage Centre, Timahoe:
The round tower of Timahoe was built sometime in the 1100s, on the site of a religious community founded by Saint Mochua (a 7th-century warrior who converted to Christianity) around 600 AD. The tower rises almost 30 metres high and is more than 17 metres wide at its base, with walls that are nearly two metres thick. Inside there are five different floors, all of which were reached by ladders ( source discoverireland.ie)
4.15pm: Stradbally; Evening Market Fare, at the Old Bandstand:
Irish & Austrian traditional/folk music, Irish dance exhibition, country market & light refreshments.
(The Old Bandstand is a unique building which has stood in the centre of Stradbally since 1899 and is a rare and architecturally significant example of a pagoda style corrugated structure) (Source: Laois Partnership)
6pm: Arrive at Treacy’s Restaurant, The Heath:
Wash & Shower facilities available.
Evening meal at Treacy’s, followed by Irish & Austrian music session.
Camping at The Heath GAA Grounds or upgrade to a local hotel (additional cost) (bed only required)
Total Distance: 38K approx.
Details: Day 2: Saturday August 25th
The “Laois Legends” Culture & Heritage Trail
with “William Bulfin” (Sean Conroy) & an adult, “Owney McRory O’More” (Michael Creagh)
10am: Event Breakfast at Treacy’s Restaurant
Breakfast Heritage Talk, “The Battle of Mullaghmast” with “William Bulfin” (Sean Conroy).
11am: Depart Treacy’s for Emo Court, to music of “March of the High Kings of Laois”
Owney McRory O’ More (Michael Creagh, in period battle dress)
Medieval Chariot Ride/High Nelly Cycle to Emo Court for 11.15am.
(Guided tour of Emo Court & Gardens).
12.45pm: Rock of Dunamase
Bulfin Cycle will merge here with Kerry visitors, arriving from Listowel with “7 Sept Family Torches”.
Pageant: “Return of the The Seven Septs” (based on the book “From Laois to Kerry” by Michael Christopher Keane). O’ More Family History with Oisin Conroy. Kerry/Laois Schools – Flags Project.
Souvenir Parchment: Copy presentation of original “Septs Transplantation” treaty document.
Medieval Chariot Ride/High Nelly Cycle to Ballyroan.
2.45pm: Ballyroan: “Pass of the Plumes” 1599 battle re-enactment at Rockview Walkways & Resource Centre.
“Owney McRory O’More soldiers” (Bulfin Heritage Cyclists) intercept “Earl of Essex soldiers” (Durrow High Nelly Club) (Essex “soldiers” in period outfits of Plumaged/Feathered head dress).
Heritage talk with Willie McGrath. Irish & Austrian Traditional/Folk Music and Dance. (Light refreshments served).
4pm: Abbeyleix: Heritage House: (Heritage Talk) (High Nelly/Vintage bike cycle to Durrow via Killamuck and Clonking)
5pm: Alyward’s Rural Heritage Museum; viewing of artefacts.
6pm: Durrow: Ashbrook Arms: Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018 Finale; Event Celebratory Meal.
Followed by: Music, Entertainment/Sing-Song at Bob’s Bar with Irish & Austrian musicians.
The “Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally” was first held in 2014 as a unique event aimed at showcasing the hidden heritage and tourism potential of the South Midlands area of Ireland. Gaining its inspiration from William Bulfin, who cycled around Ireland in 1902, the event is a valuable introduction to the heritage that inspired much of the history, culture, music and storytelling of Ancient Ireland.
“William Bulfin was by no means the usual tourist and his greatest enthusiasms were for places that the usual tourist had not yet penetrated” (Benedict Kiely, Capuchin Annual 1948)
From Laois People –The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally
On his arrival back in Ireland in 1901, from Argentina, William Bulfin set about planning a unique journey across Ireland on a brand new steel framed bicycle that he had purchased from Pierce Engineering in Wexford. While on this journey William says he took notes, “more or less hurriedly, at irregular intervals, generally out of reach of books or references”. The outcome of this almost three thousand mile journey was the book entitled Rambles In Eirinn. Published in 1907. This book is a well-regarded account of his travels around the island of Ireland by bicycle. As well as great descriptions of scenery, chance meetings and encounters, William visits places of historic interest (places of battles, events and legends) and recounts these tales, his observations there; critiques of the history as well as thoughts on the lay of the land of that day (1902).A Unique Journey Across Ireland
William Bulfin was a man who loved everything about Ireland; its heritage, its landscape, its people. Nowhere was this more evident than in his writings, as he travelled around this beautiful land of ours on his High Nelly bicycle in 1902. For him all Ireland was sacred ground, but in a particular way his heart was in North Munster and the soft melancholy Midlands, and it was in those places that his book of journeys began. In his book, “Rambles in Eirinn” William wrote …”You are higher than the grey peaks of the nearest ranges; you are on a level with the others. You are up in the blue air where only the eagle soars and the skylark sings.The rooks and daws and seafowl are winging their flight below you over lake and valley and hill. Only the clouds lie here when they are lazy or too full of rain to travel. It is the flower of bogs-the canavaun of the mountain tops of Eire.”A Man Who Loved Ireland