Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally 2018

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Castle Durrow

Castle Durrow

R32 EA02 Durrow


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The Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally is a two day, 70k (approx), vintage cycle journey through the rolling countryside of South 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.


Details: Day 2: Saturday August 25th

The "Laois Legends" Culture & Heritage Trail

with "William Bulfin" & an adult, "Owney McRory O'More"

10am: Event Breakfast at Treacy's Restaurant

Breakfast Heritage Talk, "The Battle of Mullaghmast" with "William Bulfin".

11am: Depart Treacy's for Emo Court, to music of "March of the High Kings of Laois"

Owney McRory O' More - 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 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" intercept "Earl of Essex soldiers" (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: Aylward'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.


Please note: Booking Fees:

Entire event: €125 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.

Day 2: Breakfast at Treacy's Restaurant, packed lunch and light refreshments during cycle, water & oranges stations, All heritage site visits & lectures, event souvenir “passport” stamped on location, musical interludes, luggage transfers and full back-up services, participation in heritage re-enactments, event souvenir medal presentation, four course celebratory meal at Ashbrook House Restaurant on completion of event.


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, from Kerry, 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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Castle Durrow

Castle Durrow

R32 EA02 Durrow


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