Welcome to Old Ireland.
My initial idea for this site was to cover only classic vehicles, but since was already taken and the best alternative I could find was this one, my thoughts for the site began to broaden.A lot of the inspiration for this comes from the few magazines for which I have written articles.Let’s get these mentioned early, because you should not be surprised to see a little of their influence here.Real Classic is subscription only in print, but also has an excellent site at, where Frank, Rowena and a host of writers entertain and inspire.Then there is Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, formerly in print monthly, but now only on line at’s archives could keep you reading happily for months, and the like it or not truths told by Thomas Day (Geezer with a grudge: see his own site at, should make everyone on two wheels pause for thought.If you have time on the …

Forgive me reader, for I have sinned

Forgive me reader, for I have sinned.Many years ago (well three and a bit to be more precise), I did a very stupid thing.I voted leave in the Brexit referendum.It is not something I am proud of, and as soon as the leave result even looked likely I was already wishing that I could have changed my vote.So some explanation/ penance is due to every other person on the entire planet for forcing all this rubbish on then on an almost daily basis for the last 1,168 days (and counting).If you have read my previous posts about Brexit (, or, you may be surprised that I voted this way.
It’s not completely my fault, (says he trying to cover his tracks).The politicians and every bit of media discussion on the vote seemed to be saying that remain votes would be the overwhelming majority. I don’t mind the EU, frankly who thinks about government on a regular…

Walking away from happiness?

If you have read some of the other posts hereabouts, then you will know that we enjoy  walking.While the fresh air, scenery and exercise are the good parts of this, there are things and people that you will come across on any path that are downright stupid or just plain annoying.A few of my pet hates are below in no particular order.By the end of this, you should be able to picture me in full grumpy old man mode, red faced and fuming.
Dog walkers who don’t pick up after their pets.I’d rather be free to look at the scenery when walking rather than constantly watching where I’m placing my next step like I’m in some sort of minefield.This problem seems to escalate during the dark days of winter.The path is less well used at that time of year, hinting that there must be some owners who only pick up when they think someone else is watching.Thanks assholes! A related problem are the dog owners who pick up, but then immediately drop the bag. I have seen bags dropped like this 20 feet from a b…

Meanwhile at the end of the glen….

It’s good to live in a place that actually gives you pleasure.Somewhere where there is space, scenery and clean air; somewhere good for the soul.As I said in the last (tangential) piece, ours lies on the shore of Belfast Lough, at the end of a short wooded glen near our home.Officially the whole walk is 16 miles in length, from Holywood to Donaghadee (or vice versa).The Walk Ni site has details of this and a load of other good walks province wide: It's hard to beat a good sunset.  This is looking West, towards Belfast further up the lough.

It is pretty much all good, with only a few short sections on road.The vast majority is paved, although a few sections are narrow where the path rounds a rocky headland or two.There are also a few sandy beaches to cross.That said, since it is at sea level, there are no major hills unless walkers get side-tracked along the way.Wildlife abounds.For example, a decent sized seal colony at Rockport…

Living with a 1974 BMW R75/6

This article was originally published in the paper version of Real Classic Magazine in November 2017(There is a link to their web page on the links sidebar).  The magazine version of this article is much better laid out than I can manage here, but the info is the same.  If you are considering long term ownership of an airhead, then hopefully a) you won't have a 1974 bike, and b) there might be something in here that you find useful.  Since I recently wrote about a starter motor problem I had had with this bike, I thought you all might enjoy the bikes back story.  It's a bit of a love/ hate thing.  Enjoy. _________________________________

There has been a lot written about BMW airheads in the last few years.So, in the spirit of if you can’t beat them, join them, here are a few thoughts from my own perspective.
Firstly, a bit about my own bike; a picture or two of which might even decorate/ desecrate these pages.I bought it 23 years ago after giving up the fight to find decent part…

Paddock Days – Part 5 - The Good Samaritan or lack thereof.

The first four stories in this series were originally published on the Real Classic web site (, but can also be found on this site at the links below.
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

I promise you, this really did happen.

We were an irreligious lot back in the day when as spotty youf’s we hung around Bangor’s biker meeting place;’ The Paddock’.Yet, back in the 1970’s we existed in a very religious world.The seafront evangelists were perpetually telling us that we were headed for an eternity of hellfire and damnation (they didn’t like our attitude apparently). The Sally Army band got drowned by a cacophony of revving bike engines as they passed…

Too good not to pass on.

I came across this while browsing.  Imagine, there actually was a Brigid Hitler (she married into this wonderful family in Dub), and even a little William Hitler!!  you couldn't make it up.

Then this link, which was given to me by a work colleague when I showed him the Mrs Hitler link.  This must have been where she took her washing. ;-)

An Update on the Tadpoles/ Frogs

At last!Over the last week or so mini frogs have started appearing around the garden.These guys are seriously small; they would happily sit on your finger tip, so please excuse the quality of the photos which were taken with my phone.The micro frog in the photos tried to hop out of my way when I was sweeping up after cutting the grass at the weekend, hence its covering of grass and debris.They are seriously difficult to photograph, since they never seem to sit still for more than a second or so.I tried to get a pic of another one amongst the newly shortened grass, but got nothing but blurry shots and pictures of where it had been a moment ago.. The attrition rate of the hundreds that leave our pond must be huge, with birds and other predators taking their toll.Our dog, Tilly seems very interested in that area of the garden too, so I suspect that she probably consumes her share too.

The BMW…..again.

There are advantages to running an old bike that was in production for over 25 years, especially ones as popular as the BMW Airheads.For example, parts supply is good, and many parts were updated or improved over the years.Often these can be retro fitted to older models either directly, or with a little ingenuity.As an early example of the breed, my 1974 R75 thus has scope for improvement in a number of areas.
Take starting.On cold mornings, pressing the starter button would produce only a lazy response from the engine.The reason for this lies in the technology of the time as well as in the bikes design.The original starter motor in my bike (made by Bosch), used electro magnets.This meant that to get the bike to go the starter motors coils had to charge up whilst still leaving enough current in the system to produce a decent spark at the plugs.The compromise here is that to leave enough juice in the battery for the spark, the starter motor is not very powerful for the size of the engi…

The next time you have to buy Magenta toner/ ink for your printer, think of this.....

The Battle of Magenta took place near the town of Magenta in the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, a crown land of the Austrian Empire on 4 June 1859.The dye was discovered in 1859 and named in honour of the event. 
Now here is the Irish bit; the leader of French forces was of Irish descent.  According to Wikipedia, his family his family originally had land in Munster, lost it because of Cromwell, and then eventually emigrated to France after 1690. Patrice de MacMahon (Paddy to his mates) joined the French army in 1820 and distinguished himself fighting for Napoleon.After winning the Battle of Magenta, he was made Duke of Magenta, before eventually becoming President of France!


We have a pond, and from February on it pretty much gets filled with frogspawn.By now I would normally expect to find no tadpoles left when I dip the pond.This is normally my prompt to clean the pond out for the year, and to get a pump running to turn the pond into the feature that it is supposed to be.This year is different.
At the weekend a quick netting session was still catching loads of the little blighters, and they still have full tails and only vestigial legs.Normally by now, (mid June in case you don't pick this story up at first posting), any weeding or other gardening in the area around the pond would disturb loads of miniature but perfectly formed little frogs.This year they are way behind schedule.Proof, if any were needed, of just how cold and miserable the weather has been so far this year.Let’s hope it doesn’t continue like this!

You can see that the tad in the picture still has a full tail and no front legs to speak of, although most of the ones that I looked at hav…