Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2019 - Meandering Monks & Medieval Miles

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.

Aghaboe Abbey

Aghaboe Abbey. Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2019. Aghaboe Abbey Aghaboe Abbey was founded in the sixth century by St. Canice.…

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2019 Event Itinerary

BULFIN HERITAGE CYCLE RALLY. AUGUST 24th & 25th 2019 Details: Day 1: Saturday August 24th 2019 Meandering Monks & Medieval…

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Program Schedule

August 24th - August 25th 2019

  • Our Partners

    We are so grateful for the support of all our partners, who help to make the Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally the success that it is!

  • The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally

    Our Inspiration William Bulfin was a journalist, travel writer and proud Irish Nationalist, who was born in Derrinlough, Co. Offaly in 1864. Having returned from Argentina in 1902, where he worked on the pampas amongst the native gaucho or cowboy tribe, he set off on a journey that took him through the highways and byways of Ireland, on a steel framed bicycle made by Pierce of Wexford. His book “Rambles in Eirinn” is an insightful account of his experiences along the route, with each captivating page telling a story of Ireland’s ancient past. The travelogue was first published in 1907, and proved to be a resounding success, extending to a fourth edition, published in 1915.

    In previous years the Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally has followed some of the routes, as outlined in Bulfin’s remarkable book; through Offaly, Laois, Kilkenny and Tipperary. In 2018 we mapped our own route, concentrating on the history and heritage of Co. Laois, taking in such wonderful places as the Irish Fly Fishing & Game Shooting Museum, Heywood Gardens, Timahoe Round Tower & Heritage Centre, Emo Court and the magnificent Rock of Dunamase, to mention but a few! Each year we travel in vintage attire, on High Nelly bikes, and our journey is punctuated by heritage site visits, heritage talks, historical re-enactments, music and food; so ours is a gentle paced leisure cycle, despite the odd difficult hill!

    It’s about parking the mountain bike, the 24 gears, the carbon fibre, the racer, and mounting a bicycle from another era…something made of steel…maybe even something a little bit rusty! It’s about dressing up for Ancient Ireland, sharing our heritage in the company of the overseas guests, that regularly join us, and generally enjoying the Craic. Whether you cycle on an old time butcher’s bike, a restored High Nelly charmer, with a stylish wicker basket, a 40’s or 50’s Raleigh, or a modern replica, it doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that you get involved in a novel heritage event where cycling is only part of the fun. The theme for The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2019, is ‘Meandering Monks & Medieval Miles’ and we will forge a trail through Ireland’s rich monastic and medieval history. So if you are interested in cycling, history, heritage or just having a wonderful fun filled, couple of days, The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally, really is for you! It is a leisurely cycle, along a route that promises to be full of hidden history, and heritage, so chalk it down on the calendar – August 24th & 25th 2019!

    And Remember, All You Need Is A Bike!

  • Schedule – August 24th 2019

    Details: Day 1, Saturday August 24th

    11am: Assembly at Aylward’s Rural Heritage Museum
    The Full Irish “Bulfin” Breakfast!
    Narration from William Bulfin’s book; “Rambles in Eirinn”
    Cycle to Aghaboe Abbey – via Coleman’s Road and Shanahoe.
    1pm: Aghaboe Abbey
    A Celebration of our Monks Saint’s Feral, Canice and Fintan
    Heritage Talk: Monastic Trials and Tribulations
    St Canice: Telling the Story of the Two Coffins – Pageant/Folklore.
    St. Fergal: Narration from William Bulfin’s book – Rambles in Eirinn & The Austrian connection.
    St Fintan: Sample a Monk’s Austerity Meal.
    “In Days of Old” An Irish “Pattern” Day.
    Rustic Merriment with Music, Song & Dance.
    A Monk’s Indulgence – Making Merry with Traditional Mead.
    Food and refreshments served.
    St Canice Commemorative Trail – A Pilgrim Path
    3pm: Clough: The Land League Priest – local history/storytelling.
    Narration from William Bulfin’s book – “Rambles in Eirinn”
    4pm: Grantstown Lake:
    An Authentic Crannóg & The Lost Village.
    Heritage Talk: Grantstown Tower House .
    Music & light refreshments.
    6.30 pm: Bob’s Museum Bar Durrow – BBQ, Music & The Ancient Pastime of Skittles

    Day 1 Trail – 35K approx
    Overnight in Durrow – Camping facilities at The Harps GAA Centre
    (courtesy of Durrow Scouts & Harps GAA Club)
    Upgrade to B&B available locally.
  • Schedule – August 25th 2018

    Details: Day 2, Sunday August 25th

    9.30am Durrow: A Full Irish Bulfin Breakfast at The Harps GAA Centre
    10.30am: Assembly
    Heritage Talk: Durrow in County Kilkenny.
    11am: Durrow to Kilkenny:
    St Canice Commemoration Trail – A Pilgrim Path
    Cycle to St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, via An Béalach Mór Taisteál – (“Up the Hill” transport available)
    Lisdowney – Heritage talk.
    Freshford – St Lachtain – Heritage talk with Ned Kennedy
    A Conker Match – An Exhibition of an Ancient Pastime
    Route continues through Threecastles and Talbot’s Inch
    2pm: Meeting with our Kilkenny Hosts – The Flying Column (High Nelly Bicycle Club)
    Heritage Cycle around Kilkenny -Including:
    Tour & Heritage Talk at St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle,
    The Black Abbey & The Kilkenny Medieval Mile Heritage Trail.
    4pm: Celebration Meal and Music at Home Rule Club Kilkenny
    7pm: Vintage Bus to Durrow (including bike transport)
    8pm: Bulfin Event 2019 “Final Handshakes”
    Music & Craic at Bob’s Museum Bar, Durrow
    Day 2 Trail – 33K approx

Our Galleries

Photographs and videos from our past and current Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rallies

Photographs from the 2017 Bulfin Heritage Cycle

Photos from the Bulfin Heritage Cycle 2016

Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018 – Posters

Social Media Galleries

What is the Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018?

Photos From The Bulfin Heritage Cycle 2015

  • 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
    William Bulfin
  • 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
    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).
  • 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
    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." From everything that that passage meant to the soul of the man who wrote it. The ingredients of that passage are an eye for colour, a remembrance of things past, an ability to see and value the phenomena of social change. Benedict Kiely from "The Capuchin Annual" 1948

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