It was a delightful weekend in the West of Ireland
Galway was privileged to have the Porsche Club Ireland again choose Galway as the venue for the 2013 Annual Club Dinner event.
I want to thank Mr President, Lady Vice President, all Committee members and all of you, our dedicated Club members, from all over the island of Ireland and beyond for making this weekend such a success.
It was late Friday afternoon/evening when I just spotted the back end of a silver 911 approaching the city via the Dublin Rd. That was the start of my smiling for the weekend.
There was a generous turnout on Friday evening with these lucky people getting to taste a part of Galway in the City Centre and later a taste of a different kind in the hotel. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Saturday Morning in Salthill
A short stroll on the prom in the lovely morning sunshine? Well this could be done later in the evening, we were the lucky ones going for a drive in what was for some the unknown countryside. After greetings, a bit of banter and most importantly a brief from our president Mr. Neil Lane, a few quick words from myself and the presentation of the welcome packs and we were ready to go and enjoy Connemara’s finest.
Exit hotel to our right and just listen to those engines. After going through Barna and approaching Spiddal at the prom we stopped to allow for a picture opportunity. It was a bit chilly but the sunshine was most certainly out. There were people out swimming and I believe we saw gentlemen possibly starting a barbeque on the beach. After a while there we started those engines and got on our way. Turning off in Casla was the real start of the scenic mountain views to Maam Cross. Then onto the main Clifden Rd. for 9 miles where we turned off for the famous Inagh Valley area. We were getting to really appreciate the roads and the amazing views by now. Sheep were out here and there, but not many and they weren’t too bothered by us. Unfortunately this road did have an end when we met with the main Clifden road but this gave us the opportunity to take our arranged lunch break in the Kylemore Abbey grounds.
By prior arrangement we had permission to park in an area separate to the general car park. We then went into the restaurant where we were met with welcome. There was an area reserved for the Porsche Club making it more comfortable in what was an extremely busy restaurant. We all thoroughly enjoyed lunch there. We then brought some cars, again by prior arrangement, closer to the Abbey and the restaurant areas. My idea for this was to try and get the Abbey grounds, buildings and the mountain in the background for pictures. This was difficult be we managed it and as you will see from the pictures of the event, we did manage to get the Abbey in the background of some. There was a huge amount of tourists there with some people very interested in the cars with even some ladies being allowed to sit in for pictures!
Out of the grounds and onto Leenane. The views of Killary harbour and the mountains here are just picture perfect. From here, the next 14 miles was going to be the last of the thrilling roads and landscape views. From my conversations with quite a few members afterwards, this last stretch of the drive before starting our return on the main road from Maam Cross was the final icing on the cake. The perfect topping.
From Maam Cross we had another 25 miles + to get us back to Salthill and the Galway Bay Hotel. This we did having us back for what was our estimated time of 5pm at the hotel. It was then time to park, get in a shower, put on the dancing shoes and time for dinner. While we enjoyed dinner Karen and Ted started what was an entertaining and very enjoyable quiz. Some of those questions were tough especially those historic car competitors related ones, easy guess who’s composed them, thanks Ted, they were very good and thanks Karen. The perfect quizmasters.
The raffle that was held in aid of the Simon Community Galway was a great success. The prizes in this raffle were very generous and there were plenty of them. I recall some tables doing particularly well.
We had the privilege of having Jean-Pierre (JP) Melon (Toga on the Forum), present a wonderful video clip of Belgium Racing History which he compiled especially for us for our event.
The music, chat, the odd drink and a little bit of dancing were much enjoyed by all. It was lovely to hear people talking about all the good parts of the drive that were enjoyed earlier, and thank you for your appreciation.
What lucky people we were. A club get together with a lovely gang in a lovely part of the West of Ireland with a fleet of various well polished Porsche models on a road with a very good surface, no ditches, no potholes, the sun beaming down, the hoods down on the convertibles, very little other traffic and just breathtaking views. You just have to experience it!
Sunday Morning in Salthill
It took us a while to get out on Sunday. We were a little more relaxed, after all most people needed to book out and we did have generous free time. It was the kind of morning when some people had to leave but then others were just coming to the event.
After exiting the hotel with the aid of Karen as a traffic officer, thank you Karen, we continued through Salthill and gradually through the city to the Oranmore Coast Road. We stopped here and waited for others to catch up because of traffic. We then set off going through Oranmore village and onto the main Limerick road until we reached Kilcolgan where we turned off heading for the Galway/Clare boundaries.
We then passed through the historic village of Kinvara and onto Ballyvaughan. Some roads in these areas have been used for the Galway International Rally. Ballyvaughan is where we had two good Options; 1 Go right, which is around the coast at Black Head and is a very picturesque drive, but I ruled this option out as a result of a check I did for a previous drive finding the road unsuitable for a fleet of cars so Option 2 it was. This brought us up the famous Corkscrew Hill, this is a hill very well known to people in the rallying world and has been used in the Circuit of Ireland Rally.
Climbing the Corkscrew was lovely, it is a very demanding and changeling climb but with a very capable driver beside me it was enjoyable. The tourists that were standing at the top viewing area were stunned. How lucky they were. On we went from here and through the matchmaking town of Lisdoonvarna and into the town of Ennistymon where there was a small horse fair taking place. Again quite unusual, a small country town, a fleet of Porsche cars and horses all over the streets. We continued on from here onto the very well known seaside town of Lahinch. Then we continued onto Liscannor which was only another 3 miles.
We parked the cars in the picturesque grounds of the Liscannor Hotel, which I had prearranged, and went across the road to the Cliffs of Moher Hotel. Here we enjoyed a meal and had a bit more chat. It was here that we broke up as a group with people now going home in different directions. Gradually the group parted and myself and Emer were the last to go. I again took the passenger seat, sat back and relaxed but closed my eyes this time.
I myself was a passenger for the weekend in the leading car. It would certainly be lovely to have been driving but there does have to be a navigator. I really got to experience things in a very different way, from the other side of the car and not having a steering wheel in my hands. I enjoyed every minute of it. With Hugh in the stunning Boxster on Saturday and Neil in the gorgeous 911 on Sunday it really was an incredible drive both days. Thank you both.
The management and staff at the Galway Bay Hotel must be commended for their professionalism and genuine friendliness throughout the whole weekend. We were facilitated with all of our requests.
Club events can only be a success like this one, and many others, when you the valuable Club member comes to the event and gets involved. This is what you just did this weekend and I want to thank you sincerely.