Oldest steam rally in Ireland celebrates 50th birthday

Three-year-old Charlie Glynn at the launch of the 50th National Steam Rally

Three-year-old Charlie Glynn at the launch of the 50th National Steam Rally

The 50th National Steam Rally will be held in Stradbally, County Laois on Sunday and Monday August 3 and 4. This is the oldest steam rally in Ireland; the first ever rally was held in Stradbally, Co Laois in 1965.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, a host of additional entertainment is being organised this year including 50 working steam engines (some of which appeared at the first rally in 1965 ), 50 Lanz tractors, 50 pre-1930 tractors, a steam train ride through the woodlands of the Cosby Estate on the Narrow Gauge Railway, ‘loy’ digging, carnival, pony rides, fashion and arts/ crafts, trade stands, and much more.

President of the Irish Steam Preservation Society, Ken Graham, said: “We are very excited about welcoming old and new visitors alike to our special 50th rally this year. Not only have we extra vintage exhibits, but we’ve also got extra trade stands to cater for all types of visitors, including auto-jumble, fashion, arts, crafts, jewellery, and much more.”

Other events will include sheep dog demonstrations, steam threshing, stone crushing, and sawing timber.

An interesting addition this year will be John Hoctor and Packy O’Brien from Co Tipperary exhibiting ‘loy’ digging, a form of manual ploughing which was used before and during famine times.

A free car park and picnic area will be available to all attendees over the two-day event. Admission is €10 for adults, and €5 for students/ OAPs/ teenagers. Children go free. For further information see www.irishsteam.ie

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