librarys Banner
Kildare Collections
and Research Services
Default text size Large text size Extra large text size High contrast text

Local Studies Department

The Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903 - Leinster Leader June 1903

Back to Introduction | July list of articles

Leinster Leader, Saturday 4 July 1903, Last Edition – Page 5

Monday being a holiday a number of people from the surrounding districts visited Monasterevan in the hope of seeing some of the motor cars whch[sic] are constantly passing through this town. They were not disappointed as an unusually large number went through – about 20 in all of every shape and make.
All through the day different groups of men could be seen discussing the merits of the several cars, and the prospects of the winner. Each had their own favourite. Some French and English, and others American, but of all the guesses none seemed to take the Germans into consideration. A French car, which stopped in the Market Square, was approached by a big countryman, who asked the driver how many cars were going to run, and on being politely informed by the civil Frenchman, exclaimed, “Is there no Irish cars?” to which the Frenchman replied, “No, you give us the road!”

A simple incident occurred in the afternoon, but one which clearly demonstrated the necessity of keeping clear of the course. A car coming down the New Lodge and into the Market Square at a rattling pace drew the attention of a dog, who made a charge at the wheels. The animal’s nose barely touched the tyres. The car was gone in an instant, and when the dust cleared away the dog was found dead on the street. A very large crowd were spectators of this scene, and some for the first realised the danger of a single touch from one of those cars.

On Tuesday afternoon large numbers of police men arrived in town – about 120 in all – and were quartered in batches of 20 in different houses.

The influx of visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday was so great that many of them found it difficult to get accommodation, notwithstanding that arrangements on a very large scale were made for their reception. All the business houses wer[sic] crowded and many private houses wer[sic] converted into temporary hotels for the occasion. A brisk trade was done in the shops, except for a few hours on Wednesday, when all the townspeople turned out in expectation of seeing the racing cars pass over the course. Their expectations were disappointed, however, as at about four o’clock a motor car came along and signalled no cars to run.

One touring car met with a mishap in the New Lodge Road, some of the machinery getting broken. It was immediately despatched by rail to Dublin for repairs. During the evening the streets were literally alive with people, everyone discussing the coming race. Just facing the control a stand was erected by Mr. Cassidy, for himself and party. Two stands were erected by the Earl of Drogheda, one at each entrance gate to his demesne. A large number of visitors came to both houses for the race.