Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ulster Rally Leaps into Action...

A host of Rally stars joined organisers and special guests in the stately grandeurof the Castle Coole Estate to launch the 2014 Todds Leap Ulster Rally. The event, which will return to Fermanagh for a second year will again play host to all the best drivers and cars from across the UK, Ireland and beyond, and an action packed extravaganza is expected by race fans on  15th and 16th August.

Backed by title sponsor Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and a number of local businesses, the award winning two day event offers a race line-up to cater for all the premier British and Irish Rally Championships including the MSA British Rally Championship and BRC Challenge, the Irish Tarmac, MSA British and Irish Historic and the Northern Ireland Rally Championships.

Ulster Rally Clerk of Course Lewis Boyd paid tribute to the local competitors and key event partners saying,
"It is again very satisfying to be here at Castle Coole in Fermanagh to launch the 2014 Ulster Rally. This time last year we celebrated a win for Alistair Fisher and Gordon Noble at the Scottish Rally. This year they are returning from a fantastic 2nd place in the Junior World Rally Championship event in Poland and its Daniel McKenna who celebrates a Scottish victory to strengthen his lead of the British Rally Championship.  I believe that Co. Fermanagh, and its neighbouring counties, continue to be the perfect location for this year's event. We have to thank everyone who help make it all possible especially the enthusiastic support of Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and I look forward, with their help, to the safe running of this event on 15th and 16th of August."

2012 NITB award winner, Todds Leap, the activity, conference and training centre is once again backing the race as title sponsor and Managing Director Benny O'Hanlon said,

"Todds Leap is pleased to be sponsoring the Ulster Rally for the seventh consecutive year.  As Northern Ireland's number one activity centre we are totally dedicated and committed to backing regional events which support the tourist trade and the local economy. The Todds Leap Ulster Rally attracts thousands of spectators to Northern Ireland each year and reaches a wider global audience, show casing the region at its sporting best. Todds Leap is looking forward to another successful rally and we wish the organisers, participants and supporters all the best for what will be a thrilling event."

Welcoming the return of the event to Enniskillen, Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Councillor Bert Johnston, commented;
"Fermanagh District Council is delighted to support the 2014 Ulster Rally.  County Fermanagh is internationally renowned for its motorsport heritage and we look forward to welcoming rally drivers, crews, officials and spectators from across Europe to the Fermanagh Lakelands in August. We wish everyone involved a safe and enjoyable rally."

Entries for the event are just about to open and the organisers, Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd anticipate a top line up of local and international competitors including Scottish Rally winner McKenna, last year's Rally NI winner Osian Pryce, Jon Armstrong and a host of British and Northern Ireland Rally Championship frontrunners.

The Irish Tarmac Championship will be well represented with current Championship leading driver, and recent Donegal Rally winning cousins Declan & Brian Boyle, Killarney winner Sam Moffett along with previous Championship winners Garry Jennings, Derek McGarrity and a multitude of other WRC cars expected to return to do battle. Also included in the Ulster Rally programme is the popular Historic section from both the British and the Irish Historic Championships.

The Enniskillen area has enjoyed a prominent place in the history of the Ulster Rally, having hosted the traditional Saturday morning breakfast halt in Ballinamallard during the 1980's and 1990's, and after the success of last year's event, which won the 'Best British Championship Event Award' for the 4th time in the last 5 years, the organisers are delighted to be returning to the Fermanagh Lakelands.

The Todds Leap Ulster Rally encompasses 130 competitive miles over 15 stages in the Fermanagh and Tyrone regions. Set to kick off at lunchtime on Friday 15th August with a ceremonial start in Enniskillen town centre, the rally finishes back in the town centre on Saturday from 4pm.  

This year will also see the return of the family friendly Spectator Special stage and other attractions at the St. Angelo Airport complex along with the event's Central Service Park - all within easy reach of Enniskillen town centre. Rally HQ will be based at the Belmore Court & Motel and the organisers expect 300 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 150 rally cars over the two day period.

For the last number of years the event has attracted over 10,000 spectators, visitors, officials, and competitors from Ireland, the UK and further afield and generated in access of half a million pounds for the local economy each year. It's also set to be broadcast on local TV, nationally and on global networks reaching 850 homes worldwide. 


For more information contact: Nicola McCullough T: 07793 227 191 or Paul Biggerstaff T: 07753 846 734

Photo caption: Pictured at the launch of the 2014 Todd's Leap Ulster Rally at Castle Coole, Enniskillen, is Garry Jennings current Ulster Rally Champion and Daniel McKenna, current British Rally Championship leader.

Background Notes:

Originally held in the Antrim area in 1976 when the inaugural Ulster Rally took place, the International event will return to Fermanagh after the successful first visit in 2014.

The Ulster Rally has won the 'Best Event Award' in the British Rally Championship in 2009, 2011, 2012 & 2013.

Rally HQ will be based at the Belmore Court Hotel & Motel, Enniskillen, and the event's Central Service Park and Spectator Stage will be located at St Angelo Airport.  Organisers expect 300 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 150 rally cars over the two day period.

The 2014 Todds Leap Ulster Rally is a counting round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the MSA British Historic Rally Championship, Citroen Racing Trophy, the Ford Fiesta Sport Trophy UK, Twingo Renaultsport Trophies UK and the BRC Challenge including the Fiesta Sport Challenge.

The 2014 Todds Leap Ulster National Rally includes the MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship Modified Challenge.

The 2012 Todds Leap Rally NI saw the World Competition debut of the Peugeot 208 R2. In recent years the Ulster rally has been chosen to host the launch of both the Citroen C2 and the DS3 rally cars.

Each year the event has attracted nearly 27,000 spectators, visitors, officials, and competitors from Ireland, the UK and further afield and generated over £2 million for the local economy in 2010. It's also set to be broadcast on local TV, nationally and on global networks reaching an estimated audience of 30,000 on Rally Week-end. 

Editors' Notes:

The 2014 Ulster Rally offers 2 events over the motorsport weekend from to include:
Todds Leap Ulster Rally - National A status event for World Rally and Group A four wheel drive cars including competitors contesting the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, Two Wheel drive homologated cars included in the MSA British Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, Citroen Racing Trophy, Fiesta SportTrophy and the Twingo Renaultsport Trophies UK.

The Todds Leap Ulster Rally also caters for competitors contesting the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship, Clonikilty Blackpudding Irish Historic Tarmac Rally Championship and the BRC Challenge which includes the Fiesta Sport Challenge.
Todds Leap Ulster National Rally - National B event providing classes for all car classes  including competitors from the McGrady Insurance MSA NI Rally Championship and the Clonikilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Modified Challenge.

The 2014 Ulster Rally is supported by:
The 2014 Todds Leap Ulster Rally is a counting round of the following:

Event Sponsor: Todds Leap  
Todds Leap is one of the largest outdoor Activity Centres in Ireland, featuring 100 acres of purpose built outdoor tracks, activities and team building courses designed to test your stamina and build camaraderie.
Our outdoor Activity Centre offers a range of team building courses for businesses in Ireland, as well as fun filled youth programs for Ireland's education, social and charity sectors that promote educational learning and communication skills and improve productivity and employability.
Our Family Fun Days are a perfect way to drag your kids away from computer screens and XBox's, and let your whole family experience healthy outdoor activity sports such as Archery, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Air Rifles and Climbing Walls.
Todd leap is home to some of the most exciting motorised activities including one of the most challenging off road courses of any outdoor Activity Centre in Ireland, providing perfect 4x4 training for anyone requiring off road driving skills for work in the construction, agriculture or forestry industries. Other motorised sports include Quad Biking, JCB Challenges and Blind Landrover Driving.
Today, at Todds Leap, no matter what your outdoor Activity Centre requirements are, you can relive the gut-busting excitement of Todd's dash for freedom over these very same hills - it will be the most fun you've ever had with your clothes on!
For more information, visit or call 028 8556 7170.

The Todds Leap Ulster Rally is an International Motor Car Special Stage Rally on closed public roads.
  • The 2014 event is the 38th Ulster Rally.
  • The first Ulster Rally was held in 1976 and was won by Cathal Curley in a Porsche Carrera.
  • The 2013 Ulster Rally was won by Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy in a Subaru Impreza WRC.
  • The 2013 Rally NI was won by Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss in a Citreon DS3 R3T
  • The 2013 Ulster Historic category winners were: Cat 1 - James O'Mahony (Volvo 144S) Cat 2 - Richard Hill (Escort RS1600) Cat 3 - Ryan Barrett (Escort RS) FIA App K - Rob Smith (Escort RS)
  • The 2013 Ulster Challenge winners were - Day 1 Ross Hunter (Peug 205) Day 2 Dean Raftery (Honda Civic)
  • The 2013 Ulster National Rally was won by Derek McGeehan and Darragh Mullan in a Mini WRC
  • Ulster Rally encompasses 300 road miles and 127 miles of competitive stages.
  • The event takes place on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th August with pre-event preparation starting early on Thursday 14th August.
  • The event includes 15 special stages (6 stages, each run twice) with several visits to the Central Service Park and Spectator Special at St Angelo Airport, just outside Enniskillen.
  • Rally HQ will be at the Belmore Court Hotel & Motel in Enniskillen.
  • Up to 800 volunteer officials are involved in running the event each year.
  • The Event can allow a maximum of 175 competing cars - bringing approximately 1000 competitors/support team members to the area.
  • Rallying is the 4th most popular sport in Ireland.
Brief event Schedule:
*First car starts from Enniskillen Town Centre on Friday 15th August at 12:10.
*Cars run at one minute intervals.
*Cars return to the St Angelo Airport Service Park & Spectator Stage for during the event
*Re-start on Saturday 16th August at 06:45
*Official finish in Enniskillen Town Centre scheduled from 16:00

Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival 2014

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Gavin Bryars, Tacita Dean, Adrian Dunbar, Heiner Goebbels, Antony Gormley, The Hilliard Ensemble, Derek Jarman, Netia Jones, Steve McQueen, Fiona Shaw, Peter Stein and John Tomlinson are amongst the artists featured in the programme for Happy Days: the 3rd International Beckett Festival, taking place in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland from Thursday 31 July - Sunday 10 August 2014.

The Festival opening will be a double presentation of Samuel Beckett's classic Waiting for Godot in two separate productions, one in French and one in Yiddish.

En Attendant Godot will be presented by Theatre NoNo, based in Marseilles, one of the most exciting new French theatre groups, steeped in the clown and cabaret tradition. This will be the first ever professional presentation of En Attendant Godot in Ireland since its premiere in Paris in 1953.

Wartn Af Godot will be presented by New Yiddish Rep from New York. Directed by Moshe Yassur, in an authorised translation by Shane Baker, the production attempts to restore 'Godot' to its language of origin. The production's distinguished multi-lingual and multi-ethnic cast will be led by Avi Hoffman at Pozzo, a star of both English and Yiddish productions across the US and also includes 9 year-old Nicholas Jenkins as the boy, making his first visit to Ireland.

Other highlights of the programme include:

A new production of Samuel Beckett's one act play, Catastrophe (1982), directed by Adrian Dunbar, Festival Artistic Associate, and featuring the theatrical debut of Ceithleann Island Theatre Company, a company of Fermanagh born professional actors. The play, originally written in French and translated into English by the author, was premiered at the Avignon Festival and dedicated to the Czech playwright Vaclav Havel.

The UK and Irish premiere of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape (1958), directed by one of the world's foremost directors in theatre and opera, Peter Stein and performed by the legendary stage and film actor and director, Klaus Maria Brandauer, making his first appearance in Ireland.

John Cage's masterpiece Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake will be presented as a sound installation in the spectacular underground caves of Marble Arch, which can only be entered by boat. Excerpts from the dance version of the piece created by Merce Cunningham will also be presented artists from the local Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre in this special location. Produced by the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen's University Belfast, and Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre.

Heiner Goebbels and the Hilliard Ensemble will present the third and last section of Goebbels' acclaimed music-theatre work, I Went into the House but did not enter, produced by the Theatre Vidy Lausanne. Part III is based on Beckett's late prose text Worstward Ho, with its most popularly famous line "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." This will be the last chance to see a work that has been acclaimed by critics all over Europe.

The internationally acclaimed English composer, Gavin Bryars, will be the Festival's composer in residence. He will present three concerts in three churches in Enniskillen. The opening concert: Celebrating Godot, will feature his most popular work, Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet in a special performance by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble with guests, Yurodny and The Crash Ensemble.

Franz Schubert was unequivocally Samuel Beckett's favourite composer, and Winterreise his single favourite work. The world famous baritone, Sir John Tomlinson and pianist Julius Drake will perform Winterreise.

Rising young opera and theatre director, Netia Jones, will curate a live performance by the Crash Ensemble and actors of Beckett's music theatre piece for radio, Words and Music, with music Morton Feldman.

Four leading visual artists will be featured in the programme: Tacita Dean, Antony Gormley, Steve McQueen and Gerard Byrne, with exhibitions in locations across Enniskillen. Antony Gormley's Tree for Waiting for Godot will be installed at Enniskillen Castle; there will be an exhibition of work by Tacita Dean; Turner Prize and Oscar Prize nominated artist Steve McQueen's Deadpan (1997) restages Buster Keaton's film stunt in which a house collapses around - Beckett adored Keaton as an actor and comic genius and cast him in his only film, titled FILM, and Irish artist Gerard Byrne's photographic installation will be on show at Castle Coole, one of the great landmarks of the region.

During the Festival, there will be an opportunity to view an installation featuring Derek Jarman's film, Waiting For Waiting For Godot (1983) at St Macartin's Cathedral Hall.

In a special international project, Awake All Finnegans calls upon all Finnegans (and Finns) in the world to join in a continuous reading of the whole of Finnegans Wake, starting at 10 am on 1 August and ending on at 6 pm on 10 August.

The programme of talks and special events by leading authors, artists and thinkers inspired by aspects of Samuel Beckett's work will feature amongst others: legendary pianist, Alfred Brendel, best-selling author and Guardian maths-blogger, Alex Bellos, Beckett's biographer, James Knowlson, celebrated food writer, Claudia Roden, author and journalist Ed Vulliamy, human rights lawyer, Philippe Sands, academic and journalist Germaine Greer, award-winning author, Blake Morrison, and internationally acclaimed actor and director Fiona Shaw.

BBC Radio 3 has commissioned five essays on five perspectives on Beckett's life and work. The essays will be presented by five key speakers at the festival and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3's The Essay, during September this year.

The whole town of Enniskillen will participate in the Festival, including high street shops and restaurants, which will respond with such ideas as Beckett burgers at the local butcher, barbers doing Beckett haircuts, Clov and Hamm Sandwiches at the cafĂ©.

Sean Doran, Director of the Festival, said: "We are immensely proud to have been able to establish a global focus in Enniskillen for Samuel Beckett, not just as one of the world's greatest writers, but also showing the influence of his work on artists in all media. Just as Stratford is the place for William Shakespeare, or Aldeburgh for Benjamin Britten, Bayreuth for Wagner, or Figueras for Salvador Dali, Enniskillen is the best place in the world to host this festival and to bring new audiences to appreciate and enjoy the work of Samuel Beckett in a multi-faceted way."

Northern Ireland's Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: "Since it began in 2012, the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival has firmly established itself on our cultural calendar. I have been to many events, both large and small, and the Happy Days Festival is one that Fermanagh can be proud of. From exciting line-ups, to the friendly staff and enthusiastic audiences, I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Samuel Beckett and I look forward to attending again this year."

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

"Beckett is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and the quality and variety of work within the festival programme, is testimony to Beckett's ongoing influence on the international arts world. As a writer he has huge international appeal and the potential for this festival is enormous, for cultural tourism and local business alike, providing another great reason for visitors to come to Fermanagh this summer."

Tickets for the Festival are on sale from the Festival Website

Happy Days: Beckett International Festival is supported by the Arts Council Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Fermanagh District Council.