The annual Mountbellew Vintage Rally will be held this year on July 22, 23 and 24. Many new additions will make spectacular viewing for an estimated attendance of over 10,000 people.
Pride of place this year must surely be the appearance of the heaviest steam engine in either Ireland or the UK. Aptly named the Grand Scenic Dolphin, this monster of a machine will be leaving its home in Aberdeen, Scotland next week, will cross the sea by ferry and will be transported to Dublin Port and on to Mountbellew on a special lorry for viewing in the Square on Saturday night and on the grounds on Sunday.
Chairman of the Vintage Committee, Jonathan Regan, says were it not for the generosity of its owner, Wexford-born Michael Dralen and his association with Mountbellew Vintage Rally Committee, it just wouldn’t be possible to attract this historic machine. This machine will be surrounded by over 15 other smaller machines on Saturday night and all activities in the Square will be free to the public.
According to secretary Sean Doyle, the procurement of a special motorbike stunt team from Northern Ireland will both entertain and scare patrons of all ages in the Square on Saturday night and there is a return of the pig racing spectacle first seen a few years ago.
PRO Phil Coffey says a unique collection of ‘100’ series Massey Ferguson, numbering 12 in all, will be seen for the first time at the Rally on Sunday. They come courtesy of their owner George McCarron and will travel all the way from Co. Louth.
Eugene Crehan, a member of the organising committee, believes the hosting of special model display of cars, lorries, trains and even farm models on Saturday 23rd in the gym adjacent to the Agricultural College will bring delight and pleasure to every young boy and girl and to some not so young.
Probably the jewel in the crown will be the Wall of Death, which is returning from the UK for its second appearance in Mountbellew. This spine-tickling spectacular will be available on an admission fee basis to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Rally weekend and as ever, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Jonathan Regan says the Rally activities will extend to over 60 acres, a special field of barley and potatoes has been sown and will be harvested using all the old traditional methods whilst massive car parks will be available near the site.
“It’s a family day out,” said Jonathan, “and our admission rates reflect the difficult times we live in,” he said.