Gordon Bennett Route, they did things differently in 1903! Back then, the speed limit in Ireland was 12mph.. and the prospect of The Gordon Bennett Cup, for which daredevil motorists would race each other around a 104-mile circuit of Kildare, Laois and Carlow, was enough to bring half the country to a standstill.
It’s easy to re-trace the route today in Kildare, the course runs through Athy and on to Kilcullen, before crossing the plains of the Curragh into Kildare Town. Who was Gordon Bennett? The flamboyant son of a New York Media Baron, whose passion for motor cars led him to sponsor the first-ever international motoring competition, which debuted in 1900, and arrived in Ireland three years later. Today, you can follow in their tyre tracks - at your own sweet pace.
Places to see on route:
Gordon Bennett (starting point)
Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens
Kildare Town and Heritage Centre
Newbridge Silverware and Museum of Style Icons
St Brigid's Cathedral.
Distance: 148km (92 miles) approx.