History re-cycled on steps of The Manor in Killorglin

Tadhg Evans

History was made - or recreated, rather - on the steps of the Manor Inn in Killorglin on Saturday, in a unique celebration of the town's rich cycling history.

A total of 12 notable cyclists and cycling personalities, young and not so young, took part in recreating a photograph taken of Killorglin Cycling Club members in the late 1800s.

The original photo also featured 12 people outside the Railway Hotel, now the Manor Inn, and is thought to date from 1895. It was presented to the Killorglin archive in recent times, Johnny 'Porridge' O'Connor explained. When the archive group saw the photograph, it set the wheels in motion for a second take some 120 years on to celebrate the town's incredible cycling history.

And, on Saturday, after preparations lasting about a year, the recreation took place and featured many great names indeed.

"It took us a long time to set this up, but we finally got there," Mr O'Connor said. "We're not sure of the identity of any cyclists in the original photo, taken a few years after Killorglin Cycling Club was founded.

"For the new photo, nearly all of them have taken part in the Rás Tailteann at some point or other, and two of them - Gene Mangan and John Mangan, no relation - won it [in 1955 and 1972 respectively]. John is one of the best cyclists to ever come out of the country having had a very successful time cycling in France. Unfortunately, because he was a member of the unrecognised NCA cycling group, he never got to take part in the Tour de France. His brother, Denis, was also a noted cyclist, winning the first stage of the 1973 Rás.

"Pat Healy also took part in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, even though he was not eligible to represent Ireland through his NCA affiliation. Another man, Michael Concannon, has been president of Cycling Ireland for five years."

Mr O'Connor thanked Rory McGillycuddy for his trojan work in setting up the photo; Cronin's Butchers Killarney, from whom a penny farthing was sourced; and Gene Mangan for travelling from Dublin for the recreation.