End of Season Run 28/29th September 2013
(organised by Maurice and Cherith McKeown)
At 9.30am on a sunny Saturday morning 12 cars arrived at the starting point in the Main Street in Aughnacloy. We were welcomed there by Maurice and Cherith who presented us with route maps for the weekend, aptly named "A touch of Monaghan and a splash of Fermanagh". They also gave us a copy of the now traditional Saturday quiz.
We set off from Aughnacloy at 10.00am and made our way to Rally School Ireland, near Scotstown in Monaghan. There we received a very warm welcome from the two brothers who run the operation, David and Malachy Smyth. Food was first on the agenda and we were kindly allowed us to use their excellent canteen facilities where we enjoyed some tasty scones and cake supplied by Cherith and Mildred. This was followed by a tour of their impressive garage and workshop where we were shown the wide range of cars that they have available. We were then taken to the viewing gallery to see some of the cars in action on the track. Several of our members and their wives were fortunate to be given a trip around the track by David Smyth during which he demonstrated some very useful fast cornering techniques. After photos with the David, Malachy and their staff and some photos of our cars it was unfortunately time to go. What a super place with such great people, we could not praise them highly enough.
Leaving Rally School Ireland we made the short journey to the McAree Museum, near Ballinode village for a private viewing of the huge collection of heritage amassed by the late Vincie McAree. It was most enjoyable and helped us remember how the world has developed to its present technological state. Many thanks must go to Vincie's family for allowing us to see this wonderful legacy.
It was then on to Enniskillen where we dropped off most of the ladies to do a spot of shopping. Meanwhile we continued on to Lough Navar forest where we had to time ourselves making the 3 mile uphill drive from the car park to the viewing point. One of the questions in the quiz (which actually counted for half the marks) was to guess how long it took Maurice to do it in his Spitfire. We then parked up at the viewing point for a picnic. The views over Lower Lough Erne on this beautifully sunny day were truly magnificent. Picnic over it was time to pick up the shoppers and travel on to Tickety-Moo's where we enjoyed some homemade ice cream and viewed their automatic milling palour in operation.
From there it was short journey to our overnight stop at Mahon's Hotel in Irvinestown where we arrived at around 4.30pm. There was then just enough time to do some serious internet browsing in an attempt to get answers to those illusive quiz questions before handing our answer sheets back to Maurice at 6.00pm.Dinner was served in the hotel at 8.00pm. It was excellent both in terms of quality and quantity. The dreaded results to the quiz then followed. Thanks to some good networking (i.e. conferring) most people did reasonably well. The overall winner of the quiz interestingly was one of the newest members in the club, Fleming McFarland. He was presented with the perpetual "Bright Spark" award for his achievement by our Chairman's wife, Mildred. Congratulations to Fleming and his girlfriend, Jennifer for their efforts in winning this prestigious trophy.
Kick off time on Sunday was 11.00am so there was time to have a well-earned lie-in after an activity filled Saturday. After a hearty breakfast, followed by a stroll around Irvinestown we set off on a 17 mile drive to Florence Court. Under the ownership of the National Trust this 18th century property has been beautifully restored. It was formerly home of the Earls of Enniskillen. We were very privileged in being allowed to park along the front of the house where many other visitors to the house were able to view our cars. We strolled around the magnificent grounds and had a light lunch in the café before being given a fascinating guided tour of the house. We were able to appreciate every aspect of life in this house from the fine interiors and decoration enjoyed by the Earl's and their family/friends in the upper floors through to the conditions experienced by the servants in the kitchens and stores etc. on the ground floor.
What a great way to end a wonderful weekend! Even the weather was perfect over the two days.
A massive thank you must go to Maurice and Cherith for organising this weekend, and ensuring that everything went like clockwork. It was greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all who took part.