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Heritage Office and Heritage Plan

Implementation of the County Kildare Heritage Plan

In May 2019, Kildare County Council adopted the County Kildare Heritage Plan 2019 - 2025. The plan was prepared by the Council and the County Kildare Heritage Forum with support from the Heritage Council. 

How Ireland saved motorsport 

Gordon Bennett


For one day in 1903, a sporting event took place in Ireland which not only profoundly altered the future of that sport worldwide, but also had a lasting impact on both Irish sport and society. The race was the International Gordon Bennett Cup race, carried out on newly repaired, and sometimes rolled, roads of Carlow, Laois and Kildare. 

In a country still discovering the motorcar, people remembered how noisy they were, how exciting they were, and how it would change so many people’s lives. It certainly changed the perception of how racing should be run, at a time when all of Europe was about to ban it altogether as being too dangerous, not just to the drivers, but to the spectators as well. The Irish Gordon Bennett Cup Race changed all that. Made with the support from the Heritage offices of Laois, Carlow and Kildare, this is the story, in two parts, of how the race came to be in Ireland, and why the eyes of the racing world were turned to Ireland for this one event, this momentous but largely forgotten race that, still today, is thought to be the largest outdoor sporting event in Irish history. Links below:


How Ireland saved motorsport Part 1


How Ireland saved motorsport Part 2