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Events

2010 Spring Rally Ireland
Fri 28th May 2010 to Sun 30th May 2010
organised by Central Scotland

Car Count : 10
 
[ show pre-run info ]

The 2010 National Spring Rally
Northern Ireland


28th to 30th May 2010


Friday morning dawned, and with four cars all polished and packed, our little group set off from Linlithgow to the much anticipated “Spring Rally” in Northern Ireland.

Rather than take the motorway through Glasgow to the ferry, we started as we meant to go on, using winding MX-5 style roads as much as possible to our lunch stop at
Woodland Farm, where Eileen and Richard were patiently waiting to join our merry band.

Ayrshire ploughmen must be very hard working guys to be able to munch their way through such large portions. Still it did keep Wattie and Richard quiet for ages. Following lunch, it was a sunny top down run past Ailsa Craig down the Ayrshire coast to Cairnryan to catch the fast ferry to Larne.

Once on Northern Ireland soil it was a fairly short blast down the motorway to Belfast to our various hotels, here we were greeted by the advance party of Heather & Chic and Dinaz & Mino. To ensure we all had a great weekend they had kindly offered to come over the week before to ensure that the weather, food, roads and more importantly the Guinness were all in tip top condition.

In the evening, the Northern Ireland Area had kindly arranged a welcome BBQ adjacent to the main rally hotel for all areas to get together, renew old friendships and generally soak up the warmth of the MX-5 community.

On the Saturday morning, we awoke to heavy clouds and rain, not the best start to the day. Undaunted, we set off for Cultra and the main rally venue at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. On arrival we were greeted by the Northern Ireland members and given our welcome packs full of information to enhance our short stay on their beautiful island. On the rally site there were various trade stands and also the national owner’s club stand selling club merchandise. I think the club umbrellas were the most popular line on the day. Various competition cars were on display, NSE even managed to pick up a second place award for the best Mk3. The various museums on the site also proved to be very interesting, discovering more about the “Titanic” seeing the “DeLorean” and delving into the past history of Northern Ireland life at the folk museum.

 

The Main Rally Site at Coultra


During the afternoon, presentations were made from MX-5 Central Scotland to Steven McKnight and Norman McNaught in appreciation of all the hard work involved by their team in organising the rally. The MX-5 Scotland whisky and Maria’s especially thoughtful personalised gift were graciously accepted.

   

Left to Right: Charles Kennedy, Norman McNaught, Steven McKnight and Ian Ness


Late Saturday afternoon arrived and it was then time to return to our hotels to get ready for the main event of the day, the Grand MX-5 Gala Dinner at Stormont Castle.

How would we get there? Not a problem, private buses had been laid on from the main rally hotels. George, one of the drivers definitely entered into the excited banter after he was told by Maria that he was taking them all out for their tea at “The Big White Hoose”.

 

   

The Big White Hoose


After clearing security we all strolled up in awe to the entrance of the Northern Ireland parliament building. Entering the grand marbled reception room it was clear we were in for a spectacular evening. The dress code was stated as being smart casual, no jeans. As you would expect the Scots, not being shy retiring types had to make an entrance, so with posh frocks and kilts we made our way through the glamorous gathering to the grand stairway for our very own photo shoot. This is where you would see prime ministers and foreign dignitaries standing on official visits. We were following in some very important footsteps steeped in history. After a few welcome glasses of wine we all made our way up the grand stairway to the member’s lounge and dining room, where dinner was served.

The gala dinner was delicious. Course after course of the finest Ireland has to offer, perfectly cooked and presented in grand style in a beautiful dining room accompanied by the Irish craik.

 

 

The Gala Dinner in Stormont Castle

Following the meal we all returned downstairs. With some tables suitably rearranged in true MX-5 Scotland style, we again sat down and enjoyed coffee, cheese and wine. The evening’s entertainment was provided by some very talented young Irish dancers and skilled musicians. There was even a sword dance and the skirl of the pipes, much appreciated by the Scots. A fine evening was had by all “to be sure”.

After a late night, Sunday morning came along all too quickly for some, with an early start to the day’s run. We had all chosen to go on the “Southern Route” around the Ards Peninsula, Portaferry, Strangford Lough, Downpatrick and the Mourn Mountains.

This time we were lucky. The sun shone all day and with perfect MX-5 roads and great lunch venue at Castle Ward we were all happy bunnies. It was also spectacular to see so many cars from all over the United Kingdom parked on the lawn in front of the castle.

 

The Strangford Lough Ferry

 

Castle Ward


Moving on to the final ice cream stop at the Spelga dam we enjoyed the company of the Peaks and Pennines members before the return journey to the hotel.

After breakfast on Monday morning, with the car boots fully loaded, we said our goodbyes to Maria & Jim, Janet & Wattie and Gavin who all were heading off to other parts of Ireland for a few more days holiday. As we had a few hours to spare before catching our ferry home, we decided to head north to see the Giants Causeway.

 

The Giants Causeway


After scrambling all over the rocks and Eileen power walking back up the hill to the visitor centre we were hungry once again, nothing new there “to be sure”. A short blast down to a great bistro in Ballycastle soon fixed that with a super lunch. The scenic drive down the coast to Larne was the final part of our adventure. Progress was slightly hindered by tour buses and tourist traffic but that didn’t detract from the breathtaking scenery and the view of Scotland on the horizon.

     

A Family outing to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge


In conclusion, a brilliant weekend made all the more special by being privileged to spend such a wonderful evening in Stormont. Many thanks to all at MX-5 Northern Ireland for the warm welcome, hospitality and for making it such a memorable event.

We’ll be back, so we will.

Report by: Ian Ness


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Your Comments
1st Jun 2010 08:21 :: Jacqueline & Ian
Brilliant weekend, we’d been looking forward to it for months and weren’t disappointed. The gala dinner at Stormont was spectacular, a once in a lifetime event not to be missed. Many thanks to the Northern Ireland Area for making it all possible.

1st Jun 2010 14:05 :: Richard & Eileen
Great event and trip both ways. Amazing to attend Stormont, a unique occasion. Thanks to all who organized it. Even the Tomtom bermuda triangle didn't spoil it.

1st Jun 2010 14:20 :: Chic and Heather
Excellent Spring Rally which we had been looking forward to after Steve and Norman's presentation at last years AGM and which certainly did not disappoint. Both the trips to Castle Ward and to  North Antrim in the sunshine were worth the trip alone. The Rally itself although dampened by the weather was in a location with plenty of interest inside to allow us to dodge the showers but the highlight was the outstanding evening at the Gala Dinner in Stormont Castle. A unique experience in a stunning setting resulting in an unforgettable evening.
Thanks to all in Northern Ireland for the hard work in organizing the event and many thanks to all the Scottish members who travelled across and enhanced the weekend by their presence

1st Jun 2010 21:06 :: Graeme & Christine Babbs
A fantastic couple of days. The dinner at Stormont was amazing and the building incredible - the photos don't do it justice. I asked a taxi driver "How many people live in Belfast?" His reply? "Let me see. There's me and the wife and we have 5 kids, so that's at least 7." So if anyone ever asks you for the population of Belfast, it is officially "at least 7".

4th Jun 2010 08:54 :: Gavin
Superb weekend. Our Northern Ireland hosts did themselves proud. The Stormont Building is magnificent. It was a real privilege to visit it. The countryside in NI and Eire is so clean and relatively litter free unlike Scotland. It was good to see the number of Scottish members make the effort to cross over the water. Thanks also to Ian for his Tom Tom Itinerary routes.

4th Jun 2010 15:09 :: wattie97
Another fab weekend in the company of MX5 friends. The Irish organisers did themselves and Ireland proud.The visit to Stormont was a great honour and appreciated by all. It was fab. Thanks to Ian and Jacqueline for the routes and thanks to my son Gavin for joining us on the extra few days we had. We had a ball.
  Wattie and Janet.

5th Jun 2010 21:55 :: JimF
What can I say that hasn't already been said already, a brilliant rally and NI should be proud of what was achieved. Many thanks to all who made this trip one to remember. This is what makes being a member of the MX5 owners club such great fun.
  Jim and Maria

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