From Hero 2 Giro cycling exhibition opened at the County Museum Dundalk last Thursday evening, just two days before Giro d’Italia held its historic sprint in the town.
This is a beautiful exhibition. It has Sean Kelly’s Green jersey, quotes from Stephen Roche, The Beatles John Lennon, even the moral philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch.
It has an amazing collection of bikes kindly donated by Paddy Whyte, Kilcurry. One of Paddy’s bikes - which he’s had for 47 years - dates back to 1870. It has iron wheels and two speeds.
Also on display is a messenger’s bike from Patrick Deery’s grocery in Church Street. Paddy’s father, Johnny Whyte, worked at this great Dundalk business in the 1940s.
Patrick Deery was a member of Dundalk Town Council back in 1907.
The current and past chairman of Dundalk Town Council officially opened the exhibition. he thanked Brian Walsh, museum curator for an exhibition that adds “so much to the history of the town”.
He referred to Dundalk’s great cycling history, to the days when hundreds sallied forth from Rawson’s and Haliday’s and the GNR.
He also referred to Kevin Doran’s great book which compiles the history of Cuchulainn Cycling Club.
Kevin himself was there and on display was his old bike from 1966 when he won the Irish senior title, the pursuit on the track at Eamonn Ceannt stadium. Kevin’s son Karl, also won the Irish championship.
Kevin was really proud of the effort made by the people of Dundalk for the Giro d’Italia.
“Dundalk has made the best effort in the South,” he said. “The Cuchulainn club has great co-operation from Dundalk Town Council.”
It is Pat O’Shaughnessy of Cuchulainn club and the members of the club who have made the Dundalk race stage possible.
The club has 300 members. It caters for children, touring, and racing. It even has a coffee group.
Museum curator Brian Walsh said this exhibition shows the importance cycling was in the daily lives and social lives of people. He thanked Paddy Malone, who as chairman of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, pulled the whole thing together. Also thanked Pat O’Donohoe, Carol dolan, Paddy Whyte, Anne Marie Eaton. Padraig Horgan to designed it, and Sean Kelly.