By Adrian Gates.Armourer.

In Aug I attended the Heinkel Treffen Run at Glenmalur on my Triumph Bonneville, some 70 miles south of Dublin. The Heinkel is a small German scooter and the Heinkel club is affiliated to the Irish IVVMCC. The members really are enthusiasts, raise money for charity, tour and meet other clubs all over Ireland, the UK and the continent. Glenmalur is situated in a valley deep in the Wicklow Mountains and is renowned for its remoteness and beauty and is very popular with hill walkers. During the 1580 and 1798 rebellions in Ireland the activities in the area were a real thorn in the side of the British. In one of the bars of the only hotel in Glenmalure there are several pictures relating to the 1798 rebellion and civil war in Ireland and in particular photos of Michael Collins.

This, in italics, is an excerpt copied from Wikipedia:

Historically, Glenmalure contained the stronghold of the Gabhail Raghnal branch of the O'Byrne clan at Balinacor. It was the site of the Battle of Glenmalure in 1580, when an English force unsuccessfully tried to take Balinacor, home of the rebel chieftain Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne. It was the worst defeat suffered by an English army in Ireland: they were completely routed with losses of between 500 and 1,000 officers and men, including Sir Peter Carew. A boulder near the Military Road crossroads is carved with an inscription commemorating Fiach MacHugh on one side and Michael Dwyer on the other side.

Glenmalure also contains an old British military barracks at Drumgoff, one of several dotted along the Military Road which was built by the British following the 1798 Rebellion. The road stretches from the Dublin suburbs over the heather clad mountains - terminating in the beautiful valley of Aughavannagh, a short distance over the mountains from Glenmalure. Wicklow and Glenmalure in particular is synonymous with Michael Dwyer, rebel leader of the 1798 Rising in Wicklow. There is a large granite memorial to the famous rising 'Governor of Glenmalure' near Drumgoff. After many years fighting the British, Dwyer was eventually transported to Australia where he died in 1825. There are a number of photographs of his Sydney grave in the pub at the crossroads where the Military Road tumbles over the hills from Laragh.

The landscape gives an indication of why rebellion was such a feature of the area over the centuries. High, heavily forested mountains, glens ending in cul de sacs of sheer granite, and fast flowing rivers with few fording points all combined to make it a difficult region to subdue. Even today, with so few roads in or out of the mountains, it's no surprise that the Irish retreated to the area as the growing English presence in the Pale displaced them during the Elizabethan period in particular.

It was a great week end although the trip down was in torrential rain most of the Saturday Run though the magnificent Wicklow Mountains was fine. Most of the entrants in these events are very sociable, enjoy their food and drink, and have known each other for years; many are accompanied by their wives. I only go because I love motor cycling and talking about them, especially classic bikes. Maybe some knowable 'farmer type' can confirm the type of implement I photographed in the B&B I stopped in?

(What is it? Maybe a horse-drawn potato scoop?)

On the Sunday I rode down to stay with Frank who has a holiday home in Courtown, some 100 miles south of Dublin. Those of you with long memories will remember from Journal No. 8 that his wife Hilary and my wife came out to Seattle for 4 weeks in 1980, so we had much to talk about. It was a very interesting couple of days but Frank was a little disappointed that my eating and drinking capacity has diminished dramatically since 1980. He has a wonderful collection of 'vintage' whisky which alas I could not fully appreciate. The ride north home was uneventful and it only rained for the last few miles, so I was singing to myself "I don't care I am nearly home".

I normally fly my powered models at Gormonsonstown Army base, an ex-Air Corps airfield base some 9 miles south of here. Alas we have lost the use of the runway, some rubbish about 'operational need'. As I was having 'withdrawal symptoms' I decided to go over to Anglesey again for a week of flying. I loaded my Skoda, NO, not the 20 century Octavia which I have given to a needy neighbour, but a 1.2 turbo petrol Roomster which has the same model aircraft carrying capacity. To my surprise the weather was remarkably good for the week with no rain at all. On my return to Dublin on Fri 19th, as I emerged from the port tunnel (a 4 mile tunnel from the port northwards) torrential rain continued until the outskirts of Drogheda.

Twenty minutes after arriving home at 7 pm, I was off to Sligo with my Bonnie for a week end motor cycle event. A few miles out of Drogheda it was dark and it started to rain, and continued for the next 2 hrs. I am sure you ex or present motorcyclists will be feeling sorry for me but don't worry I was in my mates van with my Bonnie in the back alongside his immaculate 1977 Silver Jubilee 750 Bonnie with only 4600 miles on the clock, more about the m/c later. Cheating I know, but very sensible, a quality that I lack at times concerning motor cycling. It was a very good week end and the more I see of the glorious countryside around Sligo, the more I like it.

There was a very good turnout of about 60 classic bikes. As is common the route sheet was of the 'Tulip' variety where arrows are used in relation to distance covered to determine whether you turn left, right or go straight on. Many riders take the event seriously and intense arguments occasionally occur when a rider fails to follow the designated route and considers a mistake has been made. However I have to admit that the skill level is amazing and just following the experts is quite a feat on the single track back roads which are often in poor condition, with grass growing in the middle. I do not use the system as I like to keep my eye on the road and survey the countryside when safe to do so. This means I follow other riders and hope for the best but I then cannot stop to admire any particular views.