Gordon Bennett Classic Car Run - 31st May-3rd June 2019

Gordon Bennett Classic Car Run - 31st May-3rd June 2019
Gordon Bennett Classic Car Run - 31st May-3rd June 2019
Gordon Bennett Classic Car Run - 31st May-3rd June 2019
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Full Description

The Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car RunEvery June bank holiday the roads of Laois, Carlow and Kildare are traversed by some spectacular classic cars in celebration of the Gordon Bennett Classic Irish Road Run, “The Race that saved motor sport”. The event has drawn Classic Car enthusiasts from as far away as California, Australia, South Africa and Malaysia.

Gordon Bennett, son of the owner of the New York Herald loved sport. In 1900 he sponsored the first-ever international motoring race, the Coupe Internationale or Gordon Bennett Cup Race. A precursor to the modern Grand Prix, and the 1903 Irish Gordon Bennett Cup Race was the first ever, international race held on a closed circuit.

Motor sport, now, was popular across Europe was earning a reputation as a dangerous sport. Courses were on open roads, and were badly managed town-to-town affairs with loss of life to drivers and spectators.  The sport was in danger of being banned across Europe. 

Britain won the 1902 race and hosting rights for the 1903 race. Ireland, still under British rule, became the venue on a closed circuit course through Carlow, Kildare and Laois.  There were no deaths and motor sport endured as a result.

The original Gordon Bennett route was first run in 1903 by the playboy son of the founder of the New York Herald and travelled through the charming country sides and villages of Kildare, Carlow and Laois. However, instead of the neck braking race it once was, this event invites you to take a gentler approach and to travel at your own pace whilst embracing the experience of a weekend filled with fun, nostalgia and liked minded individuals. How can vintage motor enthusiasts resist!

2019  Event  Itinerary


For the early arrivals we will hold a thatch pub to thatch pub run. Starting at Treacy’s The Heath and finishing in Sheerans in Coolraine in the Slieve Bloom Mountains..no maps no defined route.totally informal.getting lost is optional..times to be confirmed

Reception in County Hall Portlaoise (to be confirmed)


Today’s run will see us travel through the Laois and Kildare countryside to Russborough House in County Wicklow, a Palladian Mansion overlooking the Blessington Lakes at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains built in 1742 for the 1st Earl of Milltown, and steeped in history. Entrance fee to Russborough House is included in the Gordon Bennett weekend package, this includes parking in front of Russborough and a guided tour of the house (limited to 2 pax per car). Explore the beautiful gardens/walks/maze and parklands. Visit the Bird of Prey centre, shop in the gift shop, lunch in the onsite restaurant or BBQ or simply picnic in the grounds and soak up the beauty of the location. Our route will see us weave our way around the wonderful lakes and views, where we will return to the Gandon Inn for the Drivers Dinner.

Assembly at Treacy’s, The Heath, Portlaoise at 10:30 – rally will commence no later than 11:00 a.m.

The Drivers Dinner will be served in The Gandon Inn directly upon the return from Russborough House. The driver’s meal is included in the overall entrance fee, however additional passengers are extra. Additional tickets can be purchased from the website on initial booking, or from a committee member of the day.


We want to see you in ‘tweed’ today or in costume dress matching the period of your car or the era of the great race …. it is not full fancy dress, a hat or scarf will suffice, but a simple nod to mark the celebration of this great historical event is what we want..but if you want to go the whole way please don’t let us stop you…

After assembling at Treacy’s, The Heath, Portlaoise, we will drive the original Gordon Bennett Route. The run will start at 11:00 a.m. There will be a number of stops and refreshments en route. The run ends at Treacy’s, The Heath where collection of the race plaques can be collected for those not attending the Gala Dinner.

There will be prearranged stops on the route at the Moate of Ardscull, Ballitore Quaker village for lunch and refreshments and a car show in Kildare Town, hosted by the Cill Dara Car Club, before ending at the Treacy’s The Heath.

The Gala Dinner… Will be held at The Killeshin Hotel this year from 7.30pm, until late. Again we encourage the fancy dress theme of period costume from the time of the race, or from the era of your car. Race plaques will also be presented here as well as the committees choice of ‘best car’, speeches, pictures of the days events and much more.


Today we will leave Treacy’s, The Heath, Portlaoise and head off for a quiet drive through the Laois countryside and head to Kilcullen where we will help them celebrate their 700 year anniversary. Visit Bardons where the French Team stayed for the 1903 race. Refreshments and activities will be available. We then head back to our BBQ and entertainment at Treacy’s, The Heath for those of you who are staying with us for the full day. Here we will have additional local food and craft stalls in an end of event festival. Tickets for the BBQ can be pre booked or purchased on any of the days during the event. Ask a committee member for details.