Home News Community Memories from famous Gordon Bennett motor race of 1903 sought for documentary

Memories from famous Gordon Bennett motor race of 1903 sought for documentary

The Heritage offices of Laois, Carlow and Kildare County Councils are looking for the memories from local families about the famous Gordon Bennett motor race of 1903.

This was the first ever international sporting race in Ireland, which brought the biggest ever crowds, and was probably the first time many people of Ireland had ever seen a car.

The three authorities, working with video makers Bailey and Blake, want to find anyone who has old photos, maybe a postcard, a flag or just stories handed down the generations about this momentous race.

Did your family rent out a field to watch? Does your family have memories of RIC members coming to the area ? (Over 2000 of them were drafted in to work at marshalling from all over the country).

Did one of the cars break down outside your house? Did someone in your family sell food or water to the hungry spectators?

The Heritage Office of Laois County Council, with the support of the Heritage Council want to bring those memories and photos together for documentary makers Bailey and Blake.

They want to illustrate this event for everyone locally to be proud of, and to tell the story to the worldwide motor racing fraternity, and learn about the race that is said to have saved motorsport.

Catherine Casey Heritage Officer with Laois County Council said: “Many people will know of the original race through the Gordon Bennett Classic Car Rally, which makes its annual come-back after Covid on the June Bank Holiday this year.

“We are delighted to be working with Bailey and Blake on this film project and we hope that as many people as possible will take par and share their family memories.”

To share a memory, or maybe a photo or two, please contact the Bailey and Blake team on gordonbennettstory@gmail.com or text 087 2539010

The Gordon Bennett Film is a project of the Heritage Offices of Carlow, Kildare and Laois County Councils, supported by the Heritage Council.

George Dalton with Malcom and Gail Lomas and their 1949 Riley Roadster at the Irish Gordon Bennett Classic Run 2004 at Treacys’, The Heath on Sunday.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
William Molloy, Stradbally and Sean Sleator and Paul Hurley, Graiguecullen view the Titanic Ghost Rolls Royce at Stradbally for the visit of the Gordon Bennett Rally.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Michael McCormack and Anne Fullam in Michael’s 1928 Austin at The Lawn Stradbally for the Gordon Bennett Picnic stop.
Picture: Alf Harvey.

SEE ALSO – In Pictures: O’Moore Park buzzing as Laois go down to Offaly in Leinster minor hurling final

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.