Mountbellew prepares for Vintage Rally (Press release July 2014)
The mother of all Vintage Rallies will be held in Mountbellew on Sunday, 27th July. This annual event attracts thousands of people across all ages from all over the country and is regarded as one of the highlights of summer as far as the festival calendar is concerned.
The active vintage committee led by its Chairman Michael Whelan is leading this year’s event with the introduction of a special All-Ireland Tractor Pulling Competition with tractors over 300 HP in competition with each other. These mammoth tank-like tractors when fully throttled have noise levels comparable to a 737 jet airliner at take-off!
By sheer contrast a small 1963 Massey Ferguson 35 tractor will pull one of the first ever small green Activ combine harvesters to come into the north Galway area in the early 1960s and can be seen cutting the actual corn sown specially in the middle of the grounds.
It is expected that there will be hundreds of vintage tractors of every shape and make going back to the turn of the last century as well as stylish vintage cars that have been so lovingly restored. Chairman Michael Whelan believes that with the good summer weather forecast to last for some weeks more and taking into account an extended area for this year’s event, there will be more comfort and safety for the expected 10,000 attendance than ever before.
A feature of this year’s event is the massive free car parking facilities available adjacent to the grounds. Committee member Jonathan Regan said that a special forestry demonstration will showcase the old back-breaking cross-cut saws, hatchets and one of the first mechanical chainsaws dating back to the 1930s. Its owner, local man Eddie Noone, will use the machine to cut down an actual tree on the site and have it cut into logs.
Vintage Secretary Sean Doyle said as ever, the event is all about the entire family having a memorable but inexpensive day out with all children enjoying free admission and a very extensive play area made available to keep little minds occupied for a few hours.
The Vintage Weekend will kick off on Saturday evening, 26th July when over ten mammoth steam engines will take their place in the Square, sending volumes of smoke and sparks into the summer night sky. It is expected that there will be amusements on the Square and a free stunt car exhibition will be held on the grounds of the local Holy Rosary College. Chairman Michael Whelan said that Mountbellew is a town that had a variety of top class restaurants, take-aways and pubs that would do justice to a place five times its size and he was confident that all visitors would enjoy the weekend immensely.