Tradition – and to be more specific the upholding thereof – is key to the life of any community. And to ensuring communities survive and prosper from generation to generation. Recently, an article was encountered detailing the history Tory Island in Co Donegal has of producing talented artists. Think also of the match making in Lisdoonvarna, the oysters in Galway or the Puc Fair in Killorglan. A tradition of festivals abides much closer to home too. There’s the steam threshing in Moynalty, the Hay Making Festival in Trim and Dunderry Fair. All of which form vital and enjoyable parts of the annual social calendar locally.
The Spirit Of Dunboyne Festival – the brainchild of and expertly organised and promoted by Dunboyne Motor Club now rightly ranks with any of them. Now in its seventh year, the club was established on the back of – and with the hope of re-igniting the long held interest and tradition in Motorsport that abounded in the area in past decades.
From 1958 to 1967, to be exact. Two major events were held each year and the club was formed to commemorate the drivers and bike riders who put Dunboyne on the motorsport map at that time. A DVD containing some of the races from olden days was released some time ago and it’s also known that Robin McCullagh – father of RTE broadcaster David – planned to feature the Dunboyne motorsport scene in a book he was writing.
By establishing the Spirit Of Dunboyne, the Motor Club – led by Sean Henry – have succeeded in honouring the past traditions of motorsport in the area while motoring towards the future and ensuring that the traditions will live on via the generations that follow on. For, Spirit Of Dunboyne is now – like the other festivals mentioned earlier – something that is looked forward to and very much here to stay.
Circumstances dictate that it’s not possible for yours truly to get too close to the action during what is always a fantastic weekend. Namely, due to the fact that I wouldn’t be able for the noise or the fumes. It shouldn’t – and I sincerely hope it isn’t – taken as a lack of interest on the part of yours truly because that certainly isn’t the case.
It simply couldn’t be, given that there are poignant family links to when the motor racing was here in the past. Not to mention having heard stories from my father and others of that vintage of watching the action from upstairs windows in homes and businesses along the main street in days of yore.
Whilst mentioning the latter, the committee behind Spirit Of Dunboyne are to be commended for staying true to many of the traditions of motorsport in the area. Foremost among them that Brady’s Pub in the centre of the town is the centre of the action. Both in terms of club activities during the year and during Festival weekend itself.
It must be said, though, that the whole town benefits from the few brilliant days. As Ratoath and Dunshaughlin undoubtedly do from their street and harvest festivals respectively. Local pride rings most true. Though. Things like the St Patrick’s Parade and the motor festival bring the best out of Dunboyne and show the area up at its best.
Even though somewhat removed from the centre of things, for other reasons, the most recent Spirit Of Dunboyne will leave the best memories. Mostly because it gave the mind’s eye an impression of what it must have been like to have been a spectator at the racing in yesteryear.
To this end, the organisers are to be commended. Having things based around Brady’s was fitting. As was having a marquee in the yard thereof. In times past, marquees on lands owned by the Brady family were the venue for fundraising events for sporting and other organisations in the area.
On the Sunday, the big day of the event, it’s reported there was nearly 200 vehicles in the village. Of course, Dunboyne has grown and developed beyond recognition in comparison to when motor racing ‘arrived’ first but it was still great to see a country feel to the place with bales of straw aplenty mixed in with things like drifting and the vehicles roaring out of the village for a lap.
Add to that a chance for a spin in a Ferrari (Mary Catherine Murphy was the lucky winner) and an opportunity to win a vintage Ford Capri – Thomas Kerwin from Bruree Co Limerick proudly drove that one home – and Spirit Of Dunboyne really had something for everyone. Congratulations to all involved and best wishes for the future. I’ll have invested in earmuffs in time for next year!