The rambler who hightailed it out of Meath's plains Meath's
Published 01/07/2015 | 02:30
In the early 1900s, William Bulfin cycled throughout the length and breadth of Ireland and wrote in detail of the people and places he encountered on his travels.
His writings were originally published as newspaper articles but later were compiled in to the now famous book Rambles in Eirinn.
Bulfin didn't just cycle; he walked, climbed, swam, got soaked in driving rain and fell in to numerous ditches and down steep hillsides.
This makes great reading and his description of cycling from Ballivor in Co Meath to Kilmessan is both hilarious and fascinating.
His hatred of the graziers of Meath knew no bounds and was made worse by the state of the road as he tried to cycle through the sheen of cow dung left by the cattle that were being driven to their pastures from the station at Hill of Down having been railed there from the fair of Ballinasloe.
He learnt quickly not to upset the drovers and especially not to tempt any of them to use their sticks on him as they guided their livestock to their destination. "I made a vow" he wrote "never to cycle again while the Meath men are on the trail"
This reminded me of one famous drover, Jack Mannon who lived near Rathmoylon in Co Meath.
Jack couldn't count but would familiarise himself with each individual beast and leaving Delvin or Athboy fairs with maybe 15 or 20 cattle in his charge, would stop occasionally and check them over saying "your there and your there" and so on until he was satisfied none were missing.