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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 COURSE.

HISTORIC FEATURES RIDICULED.

A STRONG PROTEST FROM MOUNTMELLICK.

At the quarterly meeting of the Mountmellick District Council on Saturday, Mr. John Williams, Co. C., presided, and there were over thirty members present.

Mr. H. V. White, County Surveyor, in his report said:-“With reference to the proposed Gordon-Bennett Motor Car Race, for which an Act of Parliament has just been obtained, the course through Queen’s County, so far as arranged, passes through the rural districts of Mountmellick and Athy. There are a few places where the Club Committee ask some road bumps to be levelled, also some corners rounded off. I think the Colliery road from Simmon’s Cross into Athy, some six miles, will require steam-rolling. About half of this stretch is in Queen’s County. I propose to do everything in my power to facilitate these and other arrangements being carried out, subject, of course, to no injury to our interests. This, I presume, will receive your approval, as you are not asked to contribute towards the expense.”

Subsequently Mr. Campion proposed:-“That we heartily approve of our County Surveyor assisting in every way possible in facilitating the success of the Gordon-Bennett Motor Race; but, while prepared to assist the organisers in every way in our power, we must enter our emphatic protest against the attempts being made by some of the promoters in the columns of “Motoring Illustrated” to turn to ridicule many of the historical features on the course. We consider these articles in bad taste, and, in view of the assistance given to the promoters by members of the local bodies we deem them very offensive”. “That copies of this resolution be sent to the Secretary of the Automobile Club and the County Councils of the Queen’s County, Kildare and Carlow.” Continuing, he said great interest was taken by all classes in this event, and, as an instance of the sort of thing he referred to, he quoted the following passage from an article in “Motoring Illustrated” of the 11th inst:-“On the left side of the last straight stretch (Athy to Kilcullen) the motorists will pass by a very ancient burial-ground, supposed to be so full of Irish Kings that there is no more room – even for a small Prince. It is now surrounded by a stone wall that keeps the cattle and pigs from browsing upon such regally nourished grass.”

Chairman: I think they are beneath notice.
Mr. Richardson: You might treat them with contempt.
Mr. Travers: They are in very bad taste, and we should protest against it. I second the motion.
Mr. T. Phelan: They would resent a thing like themselves very quickly. The resolution was unanimously adopted.