Last weekend cycling campaigners from Cyclist.ie groups / branches across the country descended on Dublin to re-energise each other ahead of what we expect will be a busy next 12-18 months of campaigning.
The Tailors’ Hall Gathering (Saturday 30th Sept)
Representatives from many of our 35 groups landed into the lovely Tailors’ Hall (An Taisce’s HQ) for a day of debating our campaigning priorities for 2024. We were delighted to have two representatives (Clare and Keelan) there from the newest local group, Gorey Pedestrian and Cycling Association – and with other delegates having traveled from as far away as Skibbereen, Sligo and Gort. And we were even more delighted that Mná na h-Éireann were out in force, with slightly more women attending the meeting than men – and even more women attending the cycle on the Sunday (see below).
The Gathering was especially important since our network of groups had not met since before the pandemic – and there is nothing like meeting in person to have proper debates with one’s peers.
Cyclist.ie Chairperson Neasa Bheilbigh setting the scene for the day – Photo credit: Dave Tobin
To start the day off, we were treated to ten short talks show-casing successful campaigns and initiatives at a local level. These included talks on:
- School streets in Galway [Reg Turner, Chair of Galway Cycling Campaign]
- Community garden cycles, Miren Maialen [Dublin Cycling Campaign]
- Biodiversity themed pedal parades – see poster below [Claire Anne Tobin]
- Limerick’s e-Bike scheme [Dave Tobin, Limerick Cycling Campaign]
- The Salthill cycleway [Kevin Jennings, Galway Cycling Campaign]
- Rural Collective / Rural Vision [Jo Sachs Eldridge, Leitrim Cycling Festival]
- Cycling campaigning in County Meath / Navan [Dave Anderson, Navan Cycling Initiative]
- Building alliances with health professionals [David Timoney]
- Campaigning experiences in Skerries [Michael McKenna, Skerries Cycling Initiative]
- Cycling Without Age successes [Clara Clark, Cycling Without Age]
- Love 30, latest news on speed limit reductions [Muireann O’Dea, Love 30]
- Cycle training and cycle campaigning [Ruth Bullough, Cycle Sense, Skibbereen]
Jo Sachs Eldridge (Cyclist.ie Executive Committee) speaking about the emergence of the Rural Collective Group – Photo credit: Dave Tobin
Claire Anne Tobin and Conor Cahill’s Pedal Party Parade poster as displayed on the day – see also https://www.instagram.com/pedalpartyparade/
There then followed two engaging sessions – one, gathering our thoughts ahead of the 2024 Local Elections; and the second, exploring the nature of crises and what it means for an advocacy body to be ‘crisis-fit’.
Ger O’Halloran (Dublin Cycling Campaign) reporting back on the breakout session – Photo credit: Damien Ó Tuama
All in all, there were some rich discussions and learnings from the event which we are now digesting, and which the Executive Committee will analyse in more depth over the coming weeks.
How many Brompton bikes can you store in a historic fireplace? Photo credit: Siobhán McNamara
Dublin Cycling Campaign’s 30th Birthday (Saturday 30th Sept)
The timing of our Gathering was chosen so as to synchronise with Dublin Cycling Campaign’s big 30th Birthday celebrations. As explained in the press release issued ahead of the party, Dublin Cycling Campaign “emerged in 1993 in response to the systematic omission from official transport thinking of cycling as an essential part of the urban transport system. Cycling, and indeed walking, had essentially been cut out of all of the ‘serious’ transport strategies and investment programmes for several decades”.
The party brought together members and friends of the Campaign going back in time – and we were fortunate enough to have some gorgeous black and white photos from the 1990s taken by Photographer Jim Berkeley on display for the day – many thanks Jim! Additionally, seven of DCC’s 13 Chairpersons over its three decade span came along, and elected politicians from an array of parties at Council, Dáil Éireann and European Parliament levels popped in over the course of the evening to mark the occasion.
A huge thanks to DJ 25Seán who played some fine dancey tunes upstairs in the hall – the perfect way to unwind after a day of meetings!
DJ 25Seán mixing it up for the guests – Photo credit: Miren Maialen
Excitement all round at the party! – Photo credit: Will Andrews
Dodder Cycleway Spin (Sunday 1st October)
To top the weekend off and wipe the cobwebs away on Sunday morning, Mairéad Forsythe from Dublin Cycling Campaign led a lovely spin along the Dodder Greenway from Rathfarnham to Kiltipper Park where all the gang enjoyed a picnic – as per the photos below.
Rendezvous point #1 at the Grand Canal: Photo credit: Katleen Bell Bonjean
The Cyclist.ie / Dublin Cycling Campaign gang at Balrothery weir on the Dodder Cycleway – Photo credit: Katleen Bell Bonjean.
Mary Sinnott and Katleen Bell Bonjean from Cyclist.ie’s Executive Committee enjoying the picnic – Photo credit: Katleen Bell Bonjean.
Anne Nospickel and Snoobles taking a break in Kiltipper Park – Photo credit: Katleen Bell Bonjean
Cyclist.ie wishes to thank all of the organisers for their work in making the weekend happen – and all of the delegates and party people for contributing to the events. We also thank An Taisce, The Tailors’ Hall Tavern, and The Right Catering Company for the venue and the fine food served on the Saturday.
We look forward to the next Cyclist.ie in-person gathering which, we hope, will be west of the Shannon in Spring 2024!
Damien Ó Tuama
03 October 2023
Note: featured image at the top of this page taken by Jessica from The Right Catering Company