The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018

Two wonderful days in August!

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.

At the Pavillion, Castle Durrow, as registration for the event commences.

The pavilion at Castle Durrow.

Getting ready to leave Castle Durrow.

Time to hit the road!

Our Austrian friends arrive at Castle Durrow.

Passing Attanagh Post Office on the way to our first stop.

In County Laois we cycled, and travelled not just through the beautiful countryside and rolling hills, but through time itself! Each site we visited was steeped in history and wonder. For many of our cyclists these visits may have been their first to certain places, but not their last, we were continuously informed. For others among our convoy, not only had they never been, but had never known of many of sites we called upon, and the fascinating stories attached to each!

And that is what the Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally is all about, and is also why we can say, with hand on heart, that the event has been a great success. For it’s all about delving into our heritage, finding, highlighting and sharing it; firstly with those wonderful people who brave the two days with us, on vintage bikes in vintage attire, and secondly with everyone else, as we promise to feature every aspect of our travels here on our website!

That is a promise we will keep, but it may take a little time! There are photographs and videos to be trawled through, then edited. Histories, facts and figures to be checked, but we will get there.

At Heywood Gardens

Arriving at Timahoe Round Tower & Heritage Centre

The Irish Fly Fishing & Game Shooting Museum

The wonder of the tower!

But before all that, we wish to thank all the participants in this year’s Rally! From all the wonderful cyclists and those who took part in our pageants and re-enactments, to those who gave heritage talks and received us so warmly! It goes without saying, that without you all, we would have no event, but we will say it anyway! Thank you!

We hope to do it all again next year, and truly hope to see you all again!

Scene from the Return of the Seven Septs of Laois, at the Rock of Dunamase.

At Emo Court

The Bulfin Cyclists at Emo Court

Departing Emo

The Rock of Dunamase

The Rambling House

Pass of the Plumes

Stradbally Evening Market

At Timahoe

Tracy’s Bar & Restaurant

Ready to hit the road, on day two!

The Bulfin Cycle

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Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018 – Information Pack

Celebrating National Heritage Week

Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally

(In the “Wheelrims” of William Bulfin 1864-1910)

(A 70k 2 day Cycle)

Friday August 24th & SaturdayAugust 25th 2018


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.

Our Route Map

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…)

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Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018 – Route Details

Day One of the Bulfin Heritage Cycle, following in the wheel rims of William Bulfin

Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018.

Route Details.


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.

(more…)

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Schedule – August 25th 2018

Bulfin Heritage Cycle

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.

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Schedule – August 24th 2018

Bulfin Heritage Cycle 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:
Heritage talk.
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:
Heritage talk.
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.

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