As a community Clonaslee must surely rank as one of the most generous in the country as every year they all pull together for a major fund raising effort. This year the third annual Vintage Run takes place next weekend and all proceeds will be divided between Castlecuffe National School and the Niall Mellon Trust.
Vintage enthusiasts from all over the midlands will gather at the Swan Bar in Clonaslee at 8.30am on Sunday May 6 where breakfast will be served before heading off on a scenic drive through the Slieve Blooms at 10.30am. The convoy will drive six miles to the Festival of the Mountain field in Rosenallis and then they will take an equally scenic short cut (which in typical mountain fashion is two miles shorter!) back to Clonaslee for a whole host of activities.
All sorts of vintage vehicles (pre 1980) are expected to participate including tractors, cars, lorries and motor bikes. There will be prizes for the various heats and also the Best Presented Vehicle will be awarded the Tommy O’Brien Cup which went to Alan Mitchell last year for his pristine tractor.
Once back in Clonaslee on Sunday there will be all sorts of activity in the Square with an Auction, an Amateur Tug of War, a BBQ and other activities certain to be enjoyed by young and old alike - and everyeone aged in between too.
Master of Ceremonies for the day will be the very popular Rock on Paddy while Paddy Buckley, The Kinsellas and Friends will entertain from 6pm guaranteeing a fun filled day for everyone.
Funds raised will help offset the cost of the new car park, playground and playing pitch at Castlecuffe National School and the Niall Mellon Trust who have benefitted from the Vintage Run in the past. Last year cheques were also presented to the Offaly and Laois branches of the Irish Wheelchair Association.
Over 100 vehicles took part last year and the success of the event would not have been possible without the support of the local Gardai and the hard working organising committee:
John Joe Heaney
The organising committee extended sincere thanks to everyone in the local community for their ongoing support for the event, all the sponsors, Swan’s Bar for their hospitality and refreshments and to all the participants who come from as far away as Galway, Tipperary as well as throughout Laois and Offaly.
On the day there will also be a Duck Race, the entire proceeds of which will go to Castlecuffe National School. The Duck Race will commence at 3pm at the bridge in Clonaslee (on the Brittas Road). Ducks cost €5 each with heat winners receiving €20 and €10 - the number of heats will be dictated by the overall number of entries while the overall winner will get €100 for first place and €50 for second duck home.
The Niall Mellon Trust
The Niall Mellon Township Trust is a house building charity. They build houses throughout the year in the townships of South Africa. The Trust also runs a skills development programme, training people from those townships in a wide range of construction disciplines. They also run a short-term volunteer overseas programme bringing volunteers to build houses in the townships. There is no building experience required.
The Niall Mellon Township Trust was established by Niall Mellon in 2002 with the aim of providing quality social housing for the impoverished communities in the townships of South Africa. The Trust operates a year-round house building programme and are the largest charity provider of quality social housing in South Africa, having built 15,000 homes to-date. Headquartered in Ireland, the charity has offices in South Africa and the US.
The Tommy O’Brien Cup
Last year the Maher family donated the Tommy O’Brien Cup to the Clonaslee Vintage committee in memory of Tommy who worked with them for many years and was a huge vintage enthusiast. The Cup will be awarded each year to the person with the best turned out tractor. Last year’s winner was a very deserving Alan Mitchell. The Maher family said the Cup was a gesture on their part to honour Tommy who was a valued employee and family friend.