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 …

Walking back to Happiness

This pic shows Tilly on the costal path neat our home

Sometimes life closes in on you.Trish and I haven’t travelled abroad for a good few years now, nor have we been on the motorcycle adventures that we both used to enjoy.This is one reason why so many of the travel stories you are likely to see here are a little dated.Still, although we occasionally look at the pictures of exotic places with envy, life is good.
There are two main causes for our lack of travel.The first is Tilly, our loveable but somewhat dim mutt. I doubt that she was treated well until she came to us about 9 years ago.Certainly, she was not well fed, since decent food saw her put on around 3Kg in her first month or so of living with us.Neither was she walked. When she first arrived, even very short walks made the soft pads of her paws red and raw.Her actions too pointed towards misbehaviour being her only source of getting attention.Getting her into some sort of routine took a lot of time and patience.She is still a l…

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…

Service Due

My Suzuki Burgman was due a service by my reckoning (see my initial write up here: recommend 3,500 mile service intervals (or 6 months).As with most vehicles, there are a few service levels.  Mine was due the more major service, a little early at just over 6,000 miles, but that can't hurt.
The simplest ones at 3,000 mile (3500 miles if you go by Suzuki’s recommendations) intervals require the following:
Change engine oil Clean filters (air filter and primary drive filter A nut and bolt check on critical components

Additional tasks to be done at every second service include:
Change the oil for the final drive gears Change the spark plug
Suzuki recommend changing the engine oil filter at every third engine oil change.Since pattern oil filters only cost a few quid, I generally change them every time I change the engine oil.
Strangely, some tasks are listed for odd mileage intervals that fall outside the normal se…

That’s entertainment?

So Snow Patrol had a gig in the park at my home town in Bangor last weekend.Firstly, let me admit that I probably do not fit the demographic for an event like this so these comments are just a gripe from an old git whose opinions are completely out of date and don’t matter anyway.I have no problem with Snow Patrol; I even like some of their music and once upon a time bought some of their stuff on CD.I even quite like some of the music of Grandad’s favourite singer ( who made an impromptu appearance at the concert.This gripe is not specifically about Snow Patrol, it is way more general than that.
Tickets for these shows are expensive, especially when you get perhaps an hour or so of the band you actually came to see.The rest are just filler and can be seen in much more intimate venues for much less cash.Add to that that the crowds at these shows are vast, so that you will probably end up watching the show at a distance on some huge T…

A few non-Irish jokes

Everyone likes a joke don't they?  Disclaimer:  I make no claim that these are tasteful!


Just got off the phone to my mate, he said he'd spent the best part of yesterday unblocking a toilet - amazing, what was the rest of the day like if that were the best bit?

They say it's impossible for a woman to change her man.

That's not entirely true. When I married my wife, she turned me into a miserable sad bugger.

I need your advice.I’ve been offered 8 legs of venison at £10 a piece.Do you think that’s too deer?

Two Mexican detectives were investigating the murder of Juan Gonzalez.

'How was he killed?' asked one detective.

'With a golf gun,' the other detective replied.

'A golf gun! What is a golf gun?'

'I don't know. But it sure made a hole in Juan.'

A man is recovering from surgery when the Surgical Nurse appears and
asks him how he is feeling.

'I'm O. K. But I didn't like the four letter-words the…