The Irish Slievenamon Event 2014
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

Without a Weymouth week this year we decided to enter the Irish Veteran & Vintage Motor Cycle Club's Slievenamon event for pre-31 motor cycles. I'd heard about it from several people who all said it was worth doing. So, entries were made and the ferry was booked. Jean and I, along with our 1925 Indian, eventually headed for Fishguard and Ireland on Thursday the 15th May in our VW van. We were booked on the 14.30 boat, which docked in Rosslare at just after 6pm. We then had a 65 mile drive to Kilkenny and the Clubhouse Hotel. The event was to start with a get together in the hotel bar for drinks and supper at 9pm - which all fitted in with our ferry and drive, or so I thought. Luckily we met Peter Bovenizer on the ferry which was useful as we were able to follow him to the hotel - just as well, as we would never have found the hotel car park entrance.

We arrived at about 8.30pm to be told that the get together was not in the hotel but in Brennans, which was at the end of the road and on the other corner. Also we had to be quick, as the time for the get together was 8pm, not 9pm as stated in the documents and that all the food might be gone. Something else that we didn't know was that signing on had been that afternoon between 2.30 and 5.30, Anyway, we quickly booked into the hotel and set off for Brennans. On reaching the end of the road, all that was to be seen was Dochertys pub. So we walked on even further and eventually came to a church with no sign of Brennans. Walking back I was beginning to think that things were not going very well at all. Back at 'the end of the road' and we couldn't see Brennans, so I tried Dochertys and was welcomed in and eventually told that Brennans was on the other side around the corner, hooray, we eventually found it.

Friday's event was to be a short social run from Kilkenny out towards Durrow for lunch. The 'short' social run was 91.8 miles and after having a good look around all of the bikes we set off  on the morning run of 45.7 miles. We found the going pretty tough as the side roads were a tad more than bumpy. On a bike with a rigid back end and tyres that need to run at 50psi, every bump was felt. Having said that the scenery and countryside was lovely.

By the time we had got to the lunch stop, both Jean and I had had enough of bouncing around, so after lunch we decided to straight line it back to the hotel. Always a bit risky, as there was no recovery following us, but we just couldn't get up the enthusiasm for the afternoons run. Back in Kilkenny we were able to have a look around the town and found it very interesting and well worth a visit. After checking the bike over for the main event the following day, the evening, which was supposed to be a visit to Smithwicks Brewery, was changed to an evening spent in the Hotel bar with a complimentary drink, as the visit could not be arranged.

Even more bikes arrived for the Saturdays Slievenamon("Mountain of the women") main run.

The mornings run took us out over yet some more of Irelands bumpy roads. We were on a 20mph schedule and managed fairly well until we were baulked on a steep hill by a Mercedes car. Anyone who knows my Indian is probably aware that it has only one brake on the rear, operated by the right foot and that the clutch is foot operated on the left, consequently hill starts are an impossibilty. I had to back the bike down into a farm driveway and Jean stood in the road to call me out when it was clear.The clutch control is a bit hit and miss but after biting I shot out into the road and did a speedway 90 degree left turn. Bottom gear took me up to the top of the hill where I had to wait for Jeannie to walk up. By this time, the 20mph schedule was out of the window, so we just pressed on to the morning coffee stop and then on to the lunch stop at the Millrace Hotel in Bunclody.

Lunch stop in Bunclody:

From Bunclody we filled up the tank ready for the afternoon run of 47 miles back to Kilkenny. Not long after leaving Bunclody we turned left on to the road signed as 'South Leinster Way'. The single track road went up and over the Leinster mountain and the views were spectacular, so I was told, as apart from having to use bottom gear all the way, dodging the myriad of cyclists that were all pedalling up the mountain and trying to miss all the potholes and bumps, I never took my eyes off the road. I would guess that the climb was the best part of more than two miles - and all done in first gear. It took ages and it was a real pleasure to get to the summit.

On to the afternoon coffee stop in Goresbridge:
From Goresbridge it was simply a 23 miles ride back to the hotel. However, we stopped a few times as the ride on the back of the Indian was beginning to tell on Jean and her knees were swelling and becoming quite bruised with all the road bumps. The front seat spring on my Indian seat had begun to flatten out with all the buffeting from the roads and it was beginning to gouge the frame - I really must lose some weight.  We eventually made it back and both of us were quite happy to put the bike back in the van and forget the social run that was on the following day. A soak in a hot bath helped with some of the aches and pains and by 8pm and the evening dinner we were both feeling a lot better.

The following day was spent exploring more of Kilkenny and at lunchtime we decided to forego the organised end of event dinner and so we headed off for the Rhu Glenn in Slieverue, which was to be our base for the following 8 days and the Irish/Welsh event the following weekend. As to the Slievenamon, it was too hard for both Jean and myself and our bike. Great country, great people, great food, but terrible uneven side roads that need a bike with better brakes, suspension and wired on tyres. I can't see us going back in the future. Thank goodness that the weather was on our side for the weekend, with plenty of sunshine on the days that we were out riding.

Bill P