In the end it all came and went so quickly! After months of preparations the big day finally arrived on August 24th, and the Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018, was finally under way. We have so much to share, from an event that truly touched the hearts and minds of all who took part. So many wonderful places were visited, wonderful people were met, new friendships formed, histories and heritages imparted, battles re-enacted, and the fun and camaraderie that abounded was amazing. We will over the coming weeks feature the stories, photographs and video footage of every aspect of our journey, and what an adventure it was.
Irish Country Roads & Culture Trails would like to welcome you on this novel cycle through the history and heritage of County Laois. Inspired by the cycling exploits of William Bulfin in 1902, the organising committee have invested a great deal of time and effort in mapping out an interesting and varied programme of historic re-enactments, heritage information and fun events for your enjoyment.
The following are a few pointers to help you enjoy your cycle journey with us.
We will assemble at The Pavillion, Castle Durrow at 9.30am sharp, on Friday August 24th where cyclist will sign in for registration and have your personal luggage deposited in our event van.
Event souvenir “Passports” will be issued and first stamp assigned.
Bicycles will undergo a safety check. Please ensure that your bicycle is in good working order and fully roadworthy
Introduction to the event will be presented by Matt Doyle, Chairman, Irish Country Roads & Culture Trails.
A short extract from William Bulfin’s book “Rambles in Eireinn” will be re-enacted to set the scene for our cycle.
At selected sites throughout the entire event, the persona of William Bulfin will be enacted by Sean Conroy.
We will depart Castle Durrow for the Irish Fly Fishing & Game Shooting Museum at Attanagh Co. Laois at 11am. Here we will be greeted by Museum Curator, Walter Phelan for a guided tour of the Museum taking in some of its 7000 exhibits. A Fish & Game breakfast will be served here;
In celebration of this unique venue and also, the medieval theme of this year’s event.
We will depart Attanagh Museum at 1.15pm on our outward journey.
Full information, regarding Route Details and Times is in our event brochure, available to all participants on morning of registration. (more…)
Route and itinerary details for this year’s Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally, as our Event Tickets are now on sale! As well as our usual Full Event Ticket, you can now purchase single tickets for Day One and Day Two, should you so prefer.
We visit amazing heritage sites, and many places of interest in between; such as Castle Durrow and Heywood Gardens, round towers and hilltop strongholds, Gourmet Jams and Evening Markets, Museums and Heritage Centres, restaurants and public houses, eating as we go …. fuelling up for battle re-enactments, heritage talks, pageants, recitals, the long awaited return of the Seven Septs of Laois, music, song and dance, with our Austrian visitors, to mention but a bit of it, and then finish everything off in style, with a celebratory meal at the Ashbrook Arms, except that’s not the end of it because there’s more music, song and dance, vintage bikes and the likes, at Bob’s Bar, back in Durrow, where it all began…. where it all began it should end….. and begin once more, for next year we go again…. to where we yet not know, but rest assured that once again we’ll be rambling in Eirinn!
But before all that here is the itinerary/route details for the Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018.
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.
“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)