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County Kildare History and Heritage

Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903

Intro and Menu | June Articles

Leinster Leader, Saturday 6 June 1903, Last Edition – Page 5

Naas And The Motor Race.


In view of the fast approach of the Motor Race, it might be well for Naas folk to endeavour to realise what big crowds the event is bound to attract into the town, and the enormous demand for provisions which their presence will create. The weighing of the cars, the first and one of the most important incidents of the Race, will be carried out at Naas, and this function will mean the presence of all the English, Continental and American motor experts and of those immediately concerned in the Race. The weighing will not be a mere perfunctory operation, but a most delicate and carefully carried-out process, critically watched by all the competing interests, and accordingly destined to make Naas a more important rallying point than any other locality on or adjoining the course. It therefore behoves the Naas traders to make adequate provision for the certain inrush of opulent strangers.

Another good suggestion which might be followed would be the formation of an Amusements Committee, who would arrange for the attendance of some good dramatic company in the Town Hall. This company could, with advantage all round, cater for the less material wants of the visitors who will perforce have to remain in Naas for the night of the Race. Gaelic Leaguers would do well to ponder over the possibilities of the situation. It might afford them a very suitable opportunity for agreeably impressing many foreigners with the fact that after all there are quite distinctive marks of nationhood in Ireland as contrasted with England, and that native enterprise is sufficient to provide for the contingencies which will arise on this great occasion. An open-air performance, or aeridheacht, embodying some really entertaining features, and participated in by the best talent procurable within and outside the locality, is a practicable project.


Naas Cycling Nuisance.
The privilege of cycling on footpaths in the vicinity of Naas has been so grossly abused of late, that unless cyclists see their way to act, with more consideration and reasonable regard for the rights, not to say the safety, of other members of the public, the authorities will have to be exhorted to step in and enforce strict compliance with the law. Numerous complaints have reached us of various acts of aggression recently committed on pedestrians by cyclists. The latter tear round corners and rush along the paths to the great annoyance of all ordinary wayfarers and the utter consternation of the nervously inclined. They swoop down upon ladies and children without sounding a warning bell, or else they ring out their presence when they are within inches of the pedestrian, with the result that the startled individual is liable to jump in front of the “scorching” wheel, in the confusion and fright of the moment. Indeed, it is nothing but sheer guess or instinct that has enabled many persons recently to escape death or maiming, for the fifteen-miles-an-hourer rang his faugh-a-ballagh just when his front wheel was grazing the coat-tails of his obstacle. Riders at night, too, do not find road-riding without a lamp sufficiently risky for their tastes; they seek adventure on the footpaths of the Sallins and Dublin roads, and the writer only escaped being crippled quite recently by the self-abnegation of a nocturnal wheelman, who was obliging enough to ride out on the road, when collision became imminent. We are advocates for the greatest freedom and privilege for the cyclist, consistent with public safety, but if the footpath is not used more reasonably and lights shown at night, the authorities must be brought to book for tolerating atrocious laxities.


On Sunday morning last a dog belonging to Mr. Thos. O’Neill, Main Street, Naas, was run over by a motor car and killed, and on Monday an auto-cyclist collided with a donkey just outside the town. The donkey escaped lightly, but the cyclist was severely hurt.