Much like a mature classic car folks feel ignored to the point where they feel invisible, driving an old car also puts you under the radar, not just because of the way they tend to be smaller and lower too but also because some people don’t seem to see a vehicle unless it’s the very latest model.
But if every dog has their day, motors from the past have a full weekend over the August bank holiday, with the 28th annual Inistioge Vintage Rally featuring hundreds of models from 1930s model Ford T’s to big-winged American cars at the Page and from vintage Mercs to Morris Minors, as well as vintage tractors like the 1979 Massey that former Chairman Sean Treacy still uses.
“I like to keep the old things going for as long as possible, no matter what. The carbon footprint of making the new product has to be huge,” says Sean, an organic mother farmer and corn farmer who has been involved with the event “from the start”. It not only entertains but also enlightens the next generation on the importance of taking care of things rather than acting like a bunch of literal jerks when they lose their luster.
Because the old adage “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” doesn’t go far enough in times of environmental disasters. Because when it’s broken, we better fix it along with our wasteful ways if we are to face the challenge of climate change and the other ills caused by our consumer-oriented, throwaway culture.
People will also see an exhibition thresher in action with Sean showing me his field of oats blowing in the evening summer breeze used for this event. “This crop never had fertilizer, no sprays, nothing,” he says, adding that he walks around the 10-acre property to pull weeds by hand.
“It’s a nice big crop,” says Robbie Hennessy, a sheep and mother farmer on nearby Saddle Hill. His legs are covered with cuts and scrapes from working in the countryside. There’s more to do before night falls but the two took the time to speak to me because they are passionate about the rally that volunteers organized last March.
“We’re a cheap event, just a fiver for mom and dad while kids are free,” says Robbie. “The weather on the holidays is usually great. You are down on the banks of the Nore, surrounded by beautiful scenery. “
It kicks off with the annual Slievenamon Vintage Tractor Club road run on Saturday, an impressive sight I can attest to. More vintage tractors join the cavalcade led by “Terry O’Brien and his crew” on their way to Inistioge; You will spend the night in the field by the old bridge where the event will take place the next day, staying in caravans or tents.
This is the first rally in three years, thanks you know what. There will be a raffle and dog show, as well as stalls selling knick-knacks and competitions for the best in each engine class, in addition to an overall winner.
Robbie would like to see more young people get involved in the event, which is drawing up to 3000 people from across Ireland, many from Munster, particularly Cork and Kerry.
“We have a couple of kiddies hurling matches,” he adds. “We hope that our local representative in the GAA, Richie Leahy, will present the medals to the children afterwards, hopefully with his All Ireland medal hanging around his neck. That would be great.”
Maybe Robbie, Sean and the other volunteers behind the weekend will also earn medals because this rally isn’t really about taking care of old cars, it’s about taking care of the community. Every penny they raise goes to local charities from St Vincent de Paul to the Boy Scouts, schools, churches – they have always supported both the Church of Ireland and the Catholic Church – but ‘the hospice is our biggest. Half of our money goes to the Carlow Kilkenny Home Care Team,” says Sean. “So many people have had to deal with these people at the end of their lives. They are a huge ministry and deserve all the help they can get. “
To bring home the point that taking care of ourselves means taking care of everyone and everything else around us.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/lay-of-the-land-vintage-weekend-of-fun-an-antidote-to-our-throwaway-habits-41862547.html Lay of the Land: A fun-filled vintage weekend as an antidote to our throwaway habits