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Rosemarie Stuart of Tony’s Bar Bridgetown and Mike Carey, of Mike Carey Agri, launching the annual Tony Horan Memorial Tractor Run.

Clare village revved up for annual tractor run


MOTOR and tractor enthusiasts are looking forward with a sense of anticipation to participating in the fourth annual Tony Horan Memorial Tractor Run in Bridgetown next Sunday.

This eagerly-awaited social event, which is run in memory of popular Bridgetown publican Tony Horan, is expected to attract up to 100 trucks, tractors, motor bikes and vintage cars.
All registration takes place on the day at 11am.

Starting from Bridgetown, the tractor runs head out the Broadford road, onto Barry’s Cross, Griffin’s Cross, up to Clonlara for a stop in Stritch’s Pub before returning to Bridgetown.
It has been organised by Rosemarie Stuart, who runs Tony’s Bar, Bridgetown.

“It is a great day in the village, and everyone is looking forward to it. The 2021 Tractor Run exceeded all our expectations. There were queues of tractors up the main street. There were hundreds of people in the village. There was a great buzz of excitement on the day.

It takes a lot of organising, a lot of things are finalised in the last two weeks.

“It is a social day out. We are hoping for a bigger and even better event this year. There is a lot of excitement and good vibes coming back about the event. We are expecting a large crowd,” she said.

In 2018, she held her first Tony Horan Tractor Run with all the proceeds being donated to the Clare COPD Support Group in Ennis.

The following year the number of vehicles increased from 80 to 90, which resulted in a €7,500 donation to Mental Health Ireland.

In 2020, Covid-19 scuppered any plans for a tractor run.

Last year, €8,000 was split between Joe Slattery, an equine assist therapist in Killaloe, and My Move mental health charity.

This year, the beneficiary is Smith O’Brien’s GAA and Camogie Club, Killaloe.

An auction will be held in the pub after the tractor run. Three loads of timber, two Republic of Ireland versus Norway football tickets and two sets of rare breed hens are just some of the items that will be auctioned.

A mini tractor run takes place for children in the back yard early in the morning.

Families can look forward to availing of a face painter for children, magician, candy floss machine and two bands from 5pm until closing time.

While prizes are continuing to be donated, Rosemarie confirmed the response has been bigger and better than ever before.

A monster raffle, which includes a €250 fuel voucher as first prize, will be held on Facebook live next Monday night.

Any who donates to the event will get a ticket to buy food at a mobile fast food van.

Asked about the impact of rising energy costs, Rosemarie revealed her electricity bill would double if she moved from a variable to a fixed rate with the provider.

Born and reared in Killaloe, Rosemarie moved to Ogonnelloe when she got married.

Her father, Tony Horan (81) who previously ran the pub for 12 years before he died in February 2018.

The Killaloe native started out his working life as a carpenter, became a butcher and then started working as a farmer and cattle dealer.

In 1983, Tony moved to be near his farm in Bridgetown. After selling this farm in 2002, he lived and worked in the pub. He also hurled with Smith O’Brien’s.

The mother-of-six recalled her father was well known in the local community.

Open seven nights a week from around 4pm, she notices customers are socialising and going out earlier.

“The pub is a social outlet and people come to meet other people.”

“We intend to stay open seven nights a week if we can. It is going to be difficult. My Guinness representative has told me most pubs are closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and some on Thursday.

“If we are closed at night and someone comes, they are not going to come back because we are off the beaten track. We charge €4.70 for a pint of Guinness so a customer gets change out of €5. We charge €5 for a lager. Some pubs are dearer than this.

“Customers tell me it is great to get two drinks for €10. Old people are worried about having money for their heating bills, electricity, petrol or diesel.

“Everyone is worried about what is coming down the tracks. There are tough times ahead,” she said.

She believes the government could do more to help people who are struggling by bringing down the price of electricity through subsidies.

Smith O’Brien’s club chairman, Patrick Aherne thanked Rosemarie for organising this event in aid of the club.

“This memorial run is a big community day. We are very grateful that Rosemarie decided to pick the club as the benefactor for this event.

“I would encourage everyone to come along and enjoy this spectacle.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation for the raffle can contact the pub.

About Dan Danaher

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