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Robey Stars at 19th Innishannon

Robey Stars at 19th Innishannon

Making a triumphant homecoming at what was the warmest and brightest Innishannon rally over its two days on June 5-6 for nearly a decade, was Eddie Fox's 1914 Robey 6hp traction engine 33348, says Peter Love.

When you get a phone call from 'Mother' Mary Desmond, the secretary of the Innishannon Steam & Vintage Rally inviting you, one has to say yes! This is the biggest event of its kind in the Republic of Ireland and is very much worth attending.

My June 2016 visit was sponsored by Tony Doyle Haulage from Cork, keen preservationists and supporters of this charity event, who did so much for me during my 'sunny' stay in County Cork, Republic of Ireland and I take this opportunity to thank them.

The rally has raised 1.330 million Euros for the Irish Cancer Society in its 19 years and the 2016 event was officially opened so well by Dr Jason Van Der Velde from South Africa, of West Cork Rapid Response. He was a very popular choice to open the rally and made a fine speech, accompanied by his young son.

It was my privilege to be invited to give the commentary for the steam and tractor parade on the Sunday of the show. This year saw nearly 50 steamers take part in this, the biggest all-round show in the Republic of Ireland, with a number of engines from Northern Ireland and a number from the UK mainland making this a true International occasion.

There were to be six engines here that took part in that very first Upton Rally some 46 years ago, which apparently featured eight traction engines and two steam rollers, the Rochford family tell me.

The star engine here this year was the 1914 Robey 6hp traction engine 33348 Z200 of Eddie Fox (pictured), which was purchased by a farmer near Kilternan, County Dublin from the Belfast Royal Show. However he only kept it for just a few years and it was then moved to a neighbour in Henry J Fox in the flatlands of County Dublin, where the engine worked with a RSJ 54in threshing drum for many, many seasons. It was to be one of the first to rally at Stradbally, by Eddie and his father, whose family rallied it until 1985.

With the passing of his father and needing hard cash to build a house for his wife and new family to live in, the engine was the only commodity available to make this happen so Eddie sold it to Dave Davis on the UK mainland who kept it at Tavistock, Devon as part of the Robey Trust.

The second engine that was part of the first rally, was the Lordan family 1910 Clayton & Shuttleworth 43173 6hp 'Betty's Pride' that was originally new to Farrelly Bros', County Meath and was featured in the early scenes of the late David Lean film 'Ryan's Daughter'.

Also at that first event was the 1899 Marshall 17287 6hp four-shaft traction engine Farmers Friends that was purchased by the current owner’s father, John Rochford, and is based at Newtown, Cleariestown, County Wexford. As always it looked stunning, having gone through two restorations in preservation times.

Looking good with new paintwork, compared to when I saw it last in 2015, was the former Richard Frances from near Sevenoaks, Kent 1912 Marshall 59435 7hp traction engine of Ben Tomkins from County Carlow. The engine worked in East Sussex in working times as part of the large Hobden fleet and later with its driver from this era who ran a red Oliver 90 tractor as its replacement with the threshing drum and was based near East Grinstead, Sussex. In preservation the engine was with David Henry Harding of Edenbridge, Kent, before the famous Mr Lilywhite owned it for a time, but this one was sold, not like his others, to east Kent and to a Mr Coleman, which is where Richard purchased the engine and rallied it a number of years.

After the tractor parade that included most makes you could think of and all eras and types, which I enjoyed talking about, it was time for Tony Doyle to whisk me back to Cork Airport for my early evening flight back to the UK. I had, as ever, enjoyed everything here, the company, the weather and so much more, I was certainly sorry to leave. They tell me Monday was just as good in all departments, remembering in 2015 the event was cancelled over the weather. However this year made up for that and a good amount has been raised for the Irish Cancer Society that's for sure.

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from p. 16 of issue July 2016

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