YOU’D think that in a field full of Fordson tractors and classic convertibles, it would be something on four wheels that would capture the attention. Not so.
At the Athea vintage rally last Sunday, it was the presence of 30 dogs which were taking part in the inaugural Athea Dog Show that stole everyone’s imagination. It was a quirky end to a hectic festival summer in the West Limerick border country.
The fifth annual vintage rally took place in the village festival field from noon, and all afternoon the distinctive hum of restored cars, tractors and farm machinery drew in the crowds.
Members of the West Limerick Vintage club, as well as a number of individual enthusiasts, filled the field with decades’ worth of pristine vehicles.
At the same time, pet owners from across the local parish pitted their four-legged friends against each other to win the coveted prizes of best terrier, best groomed dog and best dog a judge would like to take home.
Connie Herbert of The Gables bar and restaurant said that the vintage rally drew visitors “from far and wide”.
“It was well worth doing. The turnout wasn’t as good as it has been in the past, but we were still very happy. People came from far and wide for it.”
After a summer which saw the triumphant return of the motorcycle road races, as well as the annual TradFeile and singles festival, Mr Herbert said that everyone in Athea is looking forward to a chance to recharge their batteries.
“It’s been pretty hectic alright. An awful lot of community effort goes in to keeping things going”.
At Sunday’s rally, the Jimmy Dee perpetual cup for the best vintage car was won by Mike Reidy from Adare for his 1935 Austin 10. The best tractor prize went to Mike Davy from Knock, county Clare, while Bobby O’Connor from Abbeyfeale won best classic motorcycle.
Mike Buckley from Lyreacrompane won best stationary piece for his Bramford engine.
Two of the top prizes in the dog show were won by Margaret O’Sullivan, Lixnaw, who won for her Rough Collie and miniature Yorkshire terrier.
Best dog a judge would like to take home, was won by James Clancy, of Coole West, Athea, for his red setter.