• Newsletter 2

    The well-oiled machine that is Shane, Mickey and Michael should now have been about to engage top gear so as to cruise through the tour-de-force that the Shamrock Challenge 2020 promised to be. The vagaries of life on Earth are, I suppose, what makes it so stimulating. The caprice that is Covid-19 has proved to have had a rather more pervasive effect than our usual random global changes in circumstances.

    Good news is that the plan to run the event in 2021 will allow the treats that had been prepared for you not go to waste. The Dunloe Castle Hotel has been booked so that is the main consideration from an organizational point of view taken care of.

    It has been a long time since Newsletter 1 appeared. The details still hold. This second missive will whet your appetite with some information about interesting places we will be visiting and passing by/through. While many of you will be able to join us next year, there are some whose plans are sufficiently far advanced that they know already they will be otherwise engaged. Hence, I will refrain from including bits about cars/competitors. It should be reassuring for those who will be making it, and for those who may decide to add themselves to the list, that the team behind Shane, Mickey and Michael remains intact so that you can look forward to the same “super service” as heretofore.


    Grove stud

    Starting in Clonmel, there will be an afternoon in its vicinity. This will include a visit to Mount Melleray Abbey, a community of Cistercian (Trappist) monks. The monastery is situated on the slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains in Co. Waterford. On Monday there will be a close-to-shortest route west to Killarney. Grove Stud is situated on 75 acres of fine limestone land and has thirty five stables. North Cork is world famous for its equine history and the numerous studs here have reared many Grand National Winners as well as inventing the Steeplechase!



    Longueville House is a stunning year-old listed Georgian Country hidden in the heart of acre wooded Blackwater also North Just before we arrive Dunloe Castle be popping to Lakeview House. Steeped in history and character, the House has long been linked to the family of Daniel O’Connell (a huge figure in Ireland’s 19th century history, known as “The Liberator”), and to the famed MacCarthy clan.

    Smugglers Inn

    Day 3 brings us around the “Ring of Kerry” on the Iveragh peninsula. We will pass through the Macgillicuddy Reeks and skirt the highest mountain in Ireland, Carrauntoohill. We will also drive over classic Circuit of Ireland stages like “Caragh Lake” (and on the final day, “Conor Pass”). On the outskirts of Waterville, The Smugglers Inn sits on the edge of the Kerry coastline along 2km of beautiful sandy beaches. Built in 1779. The restored farm house spans five generations of food, quality and Irish tradition.


    Kells, on the north side of the peninsula is a traditional fishing village. Golden’s is the local hostelry for the discerning. The Iveragh based bar was originally known as The O’Connell Arms courtesy of its links with one of Ireland’s more famous sons, Daniel O’Connell. O’Connell would have stopped off here when he travelled between Caherdaniel (further west) and the Dublin Parliament.

    Wild Colonial

    The grand finale will be on the Dingle Peninsula. We will pass through Castlemaine twice during the day. In pride of place in the town is the bronze statue of “The Wild Colonial Boy” thus named because of the eponymous ballad. Legend has it that Jack Duggan, also known as “Bold Jack Donohoe” was born in Castlemaine in 1806. In 1824, aged 18, he was convicted of “intent to commit a felony” (probably rebel sympathies or connections) and was sentenced to be transported for life to New South Wales. He had a chequered career which resulted in his becoming one of Australia’s most celebrated bushrangers. On1st September 1830, a group of soldiers and police caught Donohoe and his gang near Campbelltown. During the battle Donohoe was shot dead.


    Dingle is a small port town on the Peninsula, known for its rugged scenery, trails and sandy beaches. Its best known tourist attraction is Fungie, the dolphin,who lives in the local waters and is almost tame at this stage. It is also celebrated for the “Other Voices Music Festival” which has a spin-off TV series called “Other Voices”. This is filmed in the intimate setting of the 200-year-old Church of St James. Performers, of whom I have heard, include Duke Special, Billy Bragg, Elbow, James Morrison, Lisa Hannigan, Mick Flannery, Imeld May & Snow Patrol.

    South Pole Inn

    Churchtown House

    The SOUTH POLE INN, located in Annascaul, contains a collection of Tom Crean memorabilia. As well as paying tribute to Tom Crean the Antarctic Explorer, the South Pole Inn now commemorates the village’s other famous son: Jerome Connor, a major Irish-American sculptor. A purpose-built gallery exhibiting his work was opened in April 2014.

    We will be finishing up in the 18th Century Churchtown House situated in the foothills of the Macgillicuddy Reeks. The house was built in 1740 by Sir Roland Blennerhassett and has been in the Magill family since 1860. The house sits alongside Beaufort Golf Course, in the clubhouse of which we will be drowning our sorrows (or otherwise).

    I’ll be in touch maybe later this year but definitely in 2021.

    – Norbury

    You may remember in Newsletter 1 that Leonhard Euler had been selected to divert you from the more relevant matters motoring. Unfortunately, his ‘Line” saga would be too protracted to include here to its conclusion – I will leave it as something for you to look forward to in the build-up to the 2021 Shamrock!

    So as not to disappoint the mathematically curious amongst you I am offering you some observations on Euler’s Number. SCROLL DOWN to be amazed!

    √4 is 2 straightforward
    √2 is not quite so straightforward – 1.4142 is close
    (1.4142 x 1.4142 = 1.99996164)

    No matter how enthusiastically you refine your estimate you never get it spot-on. In situations like this the number is termed irrational.

    Irrational numbers crop up in lots of situations. You will probably have come across π, the ratio of the circumference and the diameter of a circle. Again, an exact number cannot be found. As above, a practical value of 3.1416 can be useful.

    Euler enjoyed investigating situations which give rise to irrational numbers. What makes him special is that he discovered a number of apparently unrelated scenarios which generated the SAME irrational number. The genius of the man is how he formulated this very theoretical “stuff”. In deference to his work this number is annotated e. That e is the first letter of exponential is serendipitous as Euler loved his exponentials.

    Like the above irrational numbers, there is no exact value for e. 2.7183 is close.

    Before I start describing situations in which e plays a part, it does have a random quirk in a more accurate approximation than the one above – 2.718281828 which has an unusual feature in that the digits 1828 are repeated.

    The symbol √ is understood by most.
    How about ! in a mathematical context?
    ! is translated as factorial.
    4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1
    5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 and so on
    0! is difficult to evaluate by the above method. It is deemed to be worth 1.

    One day, there was Euler looking for something to do, so he started working out what the stylish looking series below would add up to.
    1/0! + 1/1! + 1/2! + 1/3! +1/4! + 1/5! + 1/6! + ……
    The first few terms go something like this
    1/1 + 1/1 + 1/2 + 1/6 + 1/24 + 1/120 = 2.7166
    This is heading for 2.7183.
    Euler kept going until he had his number correct to 18 decimal places.
    (What else would you be doing in the early 1700s?)

    Another day, Euler was contemplating the elegant looking mathematical expression below and he started putting numbers into and working out what it was worth. This is what happened.

    • (1 + 1/n)n
    • n = 1 gave him ….. 2.00000
    • n = 2 gave him ….. 2.25000
    • n = 5 gave him ….. 2.48832
    • n = 10 ……………………2.59374
    • n = 100 ………………….2.70481
    • n = 1000………………. 2.71692
    • n = 10000………………2.71815
    • n = 100000……………2.71827

    This, as you can see, rounds off to the 2.7183 above.

    If you can cast you mind back to your school days and were fortunate to have done calculus, you will remember that it came in two varieties – differential and integral. The easier was differential and you may remember doing stuff like this.

    • f(x) = x2 what is f’(x)?
    • The answer (the derivative) is 2x
    • Sometimes this was presented as:
    • y = x2 what is dy/dx? The derivative was still 2x.
    • Sin x had a derivative of Cos x.
    • There were tables to help with these.

    Euler enjoyed this branch of mathematics but came to wonder if there was some mathematical expression which had the same derivative as itself and yes, you’ve guessed it – he found one. It was “his” number to the power of x. ex

  • Newsletter 1

    A drawback to generating a Newsletter for a well-received event is that competitors return for more, thus rendering there being fewer people/cars to write about. Nonetheless, the entry forms have provided me with quite an amount of information. Before regaling you with these nuggets, I will fill you in on a couple of other matters. While the route is almost finalised, it is a little premature to be whetting your appetite for the challenges in store.

    Hotel Minella

    At a more fundamental level the Hotel Minella in Clonmel will provide all of the physical prerequisites you expect. It is located on the picturesque banks of the River Suir, on the edge of the town. The Suir is one of the “Three Sisters” – the others are the Barrow and the Nore – which reach the sea in Waterford. Clonmel’s hinterland is home to quite a few multi-nationals, particularly in the medical area. These include Abbot and Boston Scientific. Probably of more immediate interest to us is the Bulmers (known as Magners elsewhere) cider plant which has been operating since 1935. It is recommended that you avail of the hydration opportunity offered by this excellent product. Even more cognizant of your corporeal needs will be the Dunloe Hotel and Gardens on the outskirts of Killarney. It overlooks the famous Gap of Dunloe and is set on its own 64 acre estate leading to the ruins of the 12th century castle and River Laune.

    Dunloe Hotel & Gardens

    The “Gap” separates the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks to the west and the Purple Mountain group to the east and includes some spectacular lakes

    Kate Kearney’s Cottage

    A notable landmark is Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Kate was a well known beauty in Ireland in the years before the Great Famine (1845-1849). It was in this cottage (upgraded since then!) that Kate distilled her famous poitín, ‘Kate Kearney’s Mountain Dew’, which was “very fierce and wild, requiring not less than seven times its own quantity of water to tame and subdue it.” It was of course illicit! Yet another attraction here is the option to travel by jaunting car (not allowed for in the regs), the drivers of which are called jarveys.

    Jaunting car

    A conspicuous feature of the 2018 & 2019 Newsletters was the infiltration of some mathematically inspired snippets to pander to my delusion that mathematics might be interesting. I regret to have to apprise you that I am continuing this practice. Last year, Blaise Pascal was the featured genius. This year it is the turn of the 17th century Swiss mathematician (amongst other disciplines) Leonhard Euler. So clever was he that there is Euler’s Identity, Euler’s Number and Euler’s Line to remember him by. It is the last of these which I will address. We will begin with some drawing. If you would like to participate, you will need a ruler, a pencil and a pair of compasses (not two of the instruments which allow you to determine direction, rather the tool for drawing circles). You will also need a hard copy of this page of the Newsletter. This will provide you with a blank triangle to play with. This exercise is not obligatory.


    With the help of your ruler, find and mark the mid-point of each side. Using “draughtsman’s eye” or, if you are particularly enthusiastic a protractor or set-square, draw lines at right-angles/perpendicular to the sides. You will now have discovered something interesting – all of these lines intersect at the same point. This is not “any old point”. It is the centre of a circle which passes through the three “corners” of the triangle which you can confirm by deploying your pair of compasses circumspectly. The circle, not surprisingly, is termed the circumcircle and its centre, the CIRCUMCENTRE.

    Jayne Wignall & Kevin Savage –
    1932 Sunbeam 20hp Sports

    The 2-seater body is built on a 23.8 chassis shortened by 12”. It was designed and built by Geoff Henderson from Co. Durham. The Wignalls have owned the car since 2003 and have covered over 30,000 miles including several rallies. Most recently (Feb. 2019) they shipped car to New Zealand for a 3,000 mile tour of the North & South islands. For this tour a special luggage box was bolted to the running board with a rather ingenious receptacle for an umbrella!

    Roger Tushingham & Dennis Greenslade 1935 MG PB Midget. Built in 1935 and first registered in August 1936. On failing an MOT test in the early 60s the owner, James Winnard, took the car off the road for a comprehensive rebuild. His son, Keith, completed the job 50 years later! Roger acquired the car in 2015 and as he found it very slow he is fitting a gadget that is supposed to blow the fuel into the engine!

    James Tibbitts & Gavin Millington
    1933 Talbot AV105 Brooklands

    Fully restored by mark specialist Ian Polson. Is now used extensively across Europe including rallies in the Alps and Pyrenees. James has competed in the Flying Scotsman as well as the 2019 Shamrock Vintage Challenge.

    Kevin Lee & Annabel Jones – 1936 Frazer Nash BMW. One of just three remaining FN-BMW 319 saloons, the car was imported to the UK in 1936 and first registered in Liverpool in 1937. Extensively rallied in the 50s by Bob Macpherson when it was modified with an Austin A40 back axle and a Wolseley gearbox. The current owners purchased it in 2018 and returned it to its original configuration.

    Rory Henderson & Anastasia Djordjevic
    1922 Bentley 3/4.5

    This car was built by coach builders, R. Harrison & Son Ltd. of London. It was used by Bentley Motors for experimental & demonstration purposes having been sold to them by a Stuart de la Rue. It was road tested and featured by The Motor magazine in March 1923.

    Annette Abaci
    Invicta Type S

    Chassis S42, with coachwork by Carbodies, was delivered in 1931 and owned by the legendary Sound of Music actor, Christopher Plummer. It later competed at the Prescott Hill Climb in the 1950s. The name given her by the Invicta club in the fifties was Sandstone. The bodywork and interior were restored in the late 1990s and subsequently the engine was refurbished for the present owner. It is a fabulous, four seater vintage sportscar – fast, reliable and pretty. Annette renamed her Victoria after she acquired it in 2011 and has rallied it in New Zealand, Georgia (Black Sea) and China to name just a few of the places.

    Stuart & Emily Anderson – 1936 Bentley Derby 4.25. This car was first owned by Eddie Hall and lapped Brooklands in 1936 at 109 mph. He won’t be expecting to match this on the Ring of Kerry!

    Irvine Laidlaw & Tony Davies – 1935 BMW 319/1. This hasn’t required much attention – just an oil change and spanner check since last year. Second in 2018 (they woz, or should that be wuz?) robbed by a tractor, they won in 2019. No improvement expected in 2020.

    Francis & Marie Rhatigan – 1939 BMW 328FN. They have survived two Shamrocks and hope to do similarly on this occasion.

    Richard & Isobel Squire – 1930 Bentley 4.5 Corsica. Their car was rebuilt in 1936 for Forrest Lycett to race at Brooklands. It is largely original today.

    Steve Wilson & Trina Harley – 1948 Morris 8 Series E. They were sixth on the first Shamrock Challenge and have been Class winners on the Rally of the Tests and the Winter Challenge.


    Martin & Lesley Neal – 1936 MG TA. They hope to have as good a time as last year

    David Thomson & Alan Smith
    1936 Talbot 105 Alpine

    This car has done loads of rallies over the past 20 years, including every Flying Scotsman bar 2012. The car, despite having done nearly 80,000 miles in the last 11 years, has managed to finish in the Top 8 in all of those “Scotsman”s – impressive.

    Reto Mebes & Hansjurgen Benze – 1934 Bentley Derby 3.5. They also hope to have as good a time as last year