Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018 - Day 1

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Castle Durrow

Castle Durrow

R32 EA02 Durrow


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A Heritage Cycle through the rolling countryside of Laois.

About this Event

Details: Day 1: Friday August 24th 2018

"Laois Lores", Culture & Heritage Trail

with "William Bulfin" and a boyhood "Owney McRory O'More"

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" 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 - O' More Family History

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.


Please note: Booking Fees:

Day 1 : €60 (plus booking fee) to include:

Day 1: Medieval fish & game breakfast, packed lunch and light refreshments during cycle, water & oranges stations, camping facilities at The Heath GAA Centre, all heritage sites visits and lectures, musical interludes, luggage transfers and full back-up services, event souvenir “passport” stamped on location, evening meal and music session at Treacy's Restaurant.


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.

2018 Event: August 24th & 25th

Having visited heritage sites of interest in Offaly, Laois, Kilkenny and Tipperary over the past four years, our event in 2018 will focus in its entirety on the rich heritage of County Laois, with a view to creating a lasting experience of the living culture and hidden heritage of this beautiful midland county.

Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018

What’s it all about?

The event is about parking the mountain bike, the 24 gears, the carbon fibre, the racer, and mounting a bicycle from another era ... something steely and sturdy, with a saddle to match ... maybe even something with a little rust peeping through! It’s about dressing up for Ancient Ireland, sharing our heritage, music, and storytelling, in the company of our overseas guests, and generally enjoying the “Craic”.

So whether you cycle an old-time butcher’s bike, a restored High Nelly charmer with stylish wicker basket, a 40’s or 50’s Raleigh, or genuine modern replica, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you get involved in a unique heritage cycling event, where cycling is only part of the fun!

The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally is a 2 day, 60k, vintage cycle journey through the rolling countryside of South Laois which, in 2018 will celebrate the history and heritage of 17th century Laois Rebel, Rory Óg O’More. Visiting heritage sites of interest along the way, this unique High Nelly/Vintage cycle event will celebrate the “Return of The Seven Septs” to Laois”at the Rock of Dunamase .

Calling all Cyclists, Historians and Heritage Tourists!

"Return of the Seven Septs of Laois"

North Kerry To Laois

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, will return to Laois, to light up a Ceremonial “Laois Sept Vessel”, at a special Heritage gathering on the Rock of Dunamase in Laois.

The Seven Laois Sept Families transplanted to Kerry in 1607:

Moore, Devoy/Deevy/Dee, Dowling, Doran, Kelly, Lalor, McEvoy.

Bike, Hike or Bus to Laois for the “Seven Septs” homecoming: Friday August 24th 2018

Our Partners:

European Commission EAFRD - European Year of Cultural Heritage - Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht - Laois Partnership - Laois County Council - The Heritage Council - National Heritage Week - Ireland’s Ancient East

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