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West Cork Rally is ‘one of the  biggest events’  in the region 

March 2nd, 2024 6:30 PM

By Martin Walsh

Pictured at the launch of the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally at the Park Cinema Clonakilty on Sunday were, from left, Cllr. Joe Carroll, deputising for Cllr. Frank O’Flynn, Mayor of the County of Cork, David Henry, general manager Clonakilty Park Hotel, Keela Hodgins, Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, Ed Twomey, Clonakilty West Cork Rally Committee, Greg McCarthy, chairperson Cork Motor Club, Christopher O’Sullivan T.D., Cllr. Paul Hayes and Chris Hinchy, Mayor of Clonakilty. (Photo: Martin Walsh)

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A PACKED Clonakilty Park Cinema were told about the value of the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally in terms of its promotional exposure, marketable asset, economic impact and sporting importance during the launch of this year’s rally.

The first-ever three-day Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally (March 15th-17th) is a result of the great synergy that exists between the Cork Motor Club, the Clonakilty Park Hotel, the Clonakilty West Cork Rally Committee, Cork County Council, the Gardaí, Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce and all the other stakeholders.

‘I have a great affection for the West Cork Rally,’ said Cllr Joe Carroll, deputising for Cllr Frank O’Flynn, mayor of the County of Cork. 

‘Back in the late 1970s and the 1980s I had some wonderful occasions with the rally, many great names like Demi Fitzgerald, Billy Coleman and Frank O’Mahony. The council are delighted to be involved with the rally because it recognises what it does for the whole area. It’s a money spinner for the Clonakilty area and the people involved are doing a wonderful job. It’s a major spectacle, the scenery is fantastic and we want everybody to enjoy what is one of the biggest events in West Cork.’


With the emphasis on road safety, Inspector Ian O’Callaghan (Clonakilty Garda Station) paid tribute to the organisers for their professional approach and constant stream of information.

‘I will be appealing to the participants and those attending the rally that we want it to be a safe event and we don’t want any negative publicity brought to the area. We want to ensure that the rally runs smoothly, we will have a big policing presence and we want everybody to enjoy themselves.’ 

General manager of the Clonakilty Park Hotel David Henry emphasised the importance of the rally as a business and the continued longevity of their title sponsorship. Outlining the format of the rally, Cork Motor Club chairperson Greg McCarthy remarked, ‘The opportunity to grow the event was presented to us this year and we have night stages on the Friday. We have a great selection of stages. Indeed, we are spoiled for choice. This year we are going back to the Glandore stage where we haven’t been for years. There is great terrain in West Cork.’

Clonakilty lady and nonagenarian Noreen Minihan proved a most entertaining guest. Few people have such a knowledge of Clonakilty that she delivered with great humour. She charted the history of the rally and spoke about its beauty and not just in scenic terms. 

‘The cars were gorgeous, the men were hunks, even if Cillian Murphy arrived, we wouldn’t even look at him, because these were the men of the moment.’

During the hour plus launch current and former drivers and others associated with the rally spoke about their experiences and aspects of the event and next week’s issue will feature some of their contributions.


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