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Local Studies Department

The Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903 - Leinster Leader April 1903

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Leinster Leader, Saturday 18 April 1903 – Page 6.
THE MOTOR RACE.

A VISIT TO NAAS.

THE JAIL AS AN HOTEL !

(Notes by a Motorist)
The information I gave last week that the competing cars would be brought down from Dublin on the day preceding the race and exhibited at Naas is practically confirmed. The chairman and secretary of the Automobile Club visited Naas on Monday and waited upon Mr. Brown, the chairman of the Kildare County Council, who showed them over the Town Hall and the adjoining premises. They expressed themselves satisfied with the spacious covered court at the back as most suitable for the storage of the cars, and inquired whether the Council would lease the Town Hall premises for the purpose of providing refreshments. They afterwards visited the disused gaol, which with very little alteration and furnishing could be made to meet the great demand for accommodation for the crowd of visitors that are sure to pour into the town.

Another advantage which Naas presents is the existence of an official weighbridge in the centre of the Main Street, where the cars could be weighed both before and after the race. If the exhibition is
HELD IN NAAS
the competing cars would start from the town for the course early in the morning. Here an objection presented itself to the minds of the chairman and secretary. Crowds will naturally wish to follow the procession, but as all traffic will be stopped an hour before the start they would not be able to get across the course to the inside space. It is only at the controls that crossing will be permitted, and as the nearest control to Naas is Kildare, ten miles distant, the objection to this arrangement was apparent. However, Mr. Inglis, the engineer of the Naas Council, proposed a solution by suggesting that the Engineers be invited to erect a bridge across the course to accommodate the traffic. The military authorities at the Curragh are to be approached to undertake the work, and I have no doubt they will consent, as the arrangement will give them an opportunity of practising their skill and also conferring a benefit on the public.

To suit the convenience of intending visitors on motor cars to Punchestown races, which take place on Tuesday and Wednesday next, the Naas Urban Council have considerately set apart one of the four roads from the town to the course for the
EXCLUSIVE USE
of all motor traffic. Those who have ever visited Punchestown will thoroughly appreciate this concession. It is at Naas, which is the station for the course, that all traffic converges, and the Jehu anxious to secure a fare is difficult to control. To the mutual advantage of both motors and Jehus all this will be obviated by the wise action of the Naas Council.

Count Zborowski at the time of his death was proposing to lease Oldtown, close to Naas, the property of Mr. deBurgh, and one of the finest residences in Kildare, for the Irish fortnight, where he intended to entertain a large party of his friends.

The Gordon Hotel Company, who erected an hotel in Cork last year, have applied for a plot of land on which to erect several large wooden buildings for the accommodation of visitors for the race.