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Local Studies Department

The Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903 - Leinster Leader June 1903

Back to Introduction | July list of articles

Leinster Leader, Saturday 25 July 1903 - Page 7
(written in Irish and translated into English)



Thomas – Whisper me, Paudheen. Were you at this big race that was in Kildare a few weeks ago?
Paudheen – Aroo! what race? The Motor race, is it?
Thomas – Yes, indeed.
Paudheen – Indeed I was not. Do you think had I anything else to do, but going looking at Motors. My turf is in the bog in little heaps yet, without I having one to give me a helping hand. My potatoes and oats are smothered up with wild mustard and dirt (weeds). It’s easy for you talk about your Motors. There is in it now but Motors here and Motors there. Faith there are other things troubling the poor people besides Motors – trying to be struggling and to earn a living. Thomas – See, Paudheen, it would have been worth your while to be there. I didn’t care for potatoes or oats or anything else. I would go in it again if they were rotting in the ground. What good is it to be alive at all, unless you have a good day now and again.
Paudheen – O! that’s right enough. I know that very well; but business first and pleasure after. The Motors will not give me bread and butter. And another thing, Thomas, I didn’t know what business they had here at all. Tearing through the country, and going as if they were mad. The poor country was bad enough as it was; but it’s my opinion that it will be nine times worse when the Motors are done with it.
Thomas – What are you saying like that, Paudheen. Nine times worse! Now don’t you know that whatever good they’ll do, they cannot do any harm anyhow. I think they are a good sign – a sign that we are going ahead; that we are every inch as good as any other country on the face on the earth; that we are able to keep up with either of them. O, indeed, we are going ahead Paudheen!
Paudheen – Ugh! we are you think. We are going ahead finely in poverty and want. Did you ever put yourself this question, Thomas, “Is there any one of those Motors made in Ireland?” I think it makes not matter to you. It makes no difference to you but to have a good sign. That’s the same sign that is on the people who are ruining this country – making fools of themselves letting on (pretending). Will the Motors be able to keep the people at home, do you think? Will they be able in any way to give work to Irishmen, boys and girls? If they were, I would have one and twenty welcomes for them.
Thomas – Now doesn’t any one know that it would be right for us to welcome anything that brings in money to us. You know that this country is poor. A couple of hundred pounds would do her no harm. The big race brought in any amount of money. The country is so much richer now. And again, Paudheen, we were here half asleep and awake. We wanted something to put life into the people. The Motors are coming to turn the wind, and to awaken the people from that heavy sleep that was on them for a long time.
Paudheen – Stop, Tomeen, don’t be bleathering like that, or you will disgust me with your raimeis (nonsensical talk). You say the country is richer than it was before. If it is where is the money gone? You nor I didn’t get a red halfpenny of it. The little money that was brought in is in the rich men’s pockets, who had too much already. We must be satisfied with potatoes and gruel, as we were evermore. I think its cold comfort to be picking bones, and looking at a man eating beef at the same time. Just like that we are; that is, anyone that is satisfied.
Thomas – Well, perhaps that race didn’t do much good to the majority of people; but you know it was the first one. The next race will be better, and the next better again, and so on – getting better from year to year. It is short till Motors are as plentiful in this country as donkey carts. Then the country will be jumping with business and pleasure.
Paudheen – Ah! Before you see that day I’m afraid there will not be many people in Ireland for business or pleasure, or anything else. See the number of people who are leaving the country each year. Young people, too, who would be able to keep the breath of life in the country. But alas! they must go, and their country dying.
Thomas – And sure that’s it. The Irish manufactures cannot go ahead without the Motors. Are they not thinking of bringing out Motors in place of the railways?
Paudheen – But where are the manufactures? We must set manufactures on foot at first, and give them attention and help. And as for putting life and energy into the people by Motors, there’s nothing in that but bleather. We must educate the people so that they will be anxious to do their own work. So that they will not be waiting for their neighbour, and asking a helping hand form him; and the neighbour perhaps humbugging him. That is how we worked for a long time; but it is time for us to be annoyed with this way now. As you said already about the motors we must turn the wind, and then, welcome to motors or anything else that will be able to improve our work.