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Leo and his father Jack taking the ferry back to the mainland.
Leo and his father Jack taking the ferry back to the mainland.
Image: Leo Nulty

My Favourite Drive: Leo Nulty on a father-and-son road trip to the Aran Islands

‘Dad’s always the navigator, but he has no time for Google Maps.’
Aug 14th 2017, 2:36 PM 856 0

JOURNEYS, EVEN IF they’re everyday ones, can mean a lot. Leo Nulty specialises in motor PR and is also a motorsport news correspondent. As someone with a passion for cars, Leo told TheJournal.ie about the drive that meant the most to him.

First up, describe the drive.

I’ve done plenty of memorable drives over the years, but my latest favourite is definitely a classic car run I did with my father to the Aran Islands in June of this year, with me driving his 1978 Mercedes SL 350. Dad’s 84 and a motor obsessive like myself.

It was a very small event, just 14 or so people. I saw an ad on DoneDeal and followed up about it, only to be told that the chartered car ferry the organiser hires to bring participants across to Inis Mór was full up. Happily, at the last minute they had a cancellation!

We spent two nights on the island, meeting fellow car enthusiasts, checking out the Father Ted-esque sights (the cheese factory, the tiny ‘airport’…) but it was the drive back that was the most impressive.

We got off the ferry at Rossaveel, and when we came to a fork in the road, we made a last minute decision to turn right and take a couple of extra days along the Wild Atlantic Way rather than turning left and back home.

leo1 Jack Nulty's 1978 Mercedes SL 350 parked up at Killary Harbour. Source: Leo Nulty

Is there a view or a moment that sums it up?

The view as you circle around the top of Killary Harbour after Leenaun and head back down is mind-blowing. There are countless mountain bends and lake views on that road, but that’s one that stands out.

En route, we turned right R344 at a place called Recess, which meant we got a spectacular run past Lough Inagh too. We stopped for food at a tiny food van called Misunderstood Heron right on the Killary shore, in the middle of nowhere. What an afternoon!

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What made it special?

Ever since I was a kid, my Dad’s has had something interesting in the garage, so it’s great to be able to share car journeys like this with him even now. He’s the navigator. He loves the map and even though he’s a bit of a techie he has no time for Google Maps.

leo2 Plotting the route out West. Source: Leo Nulty

We’ve done another road trip since then to Brooklands, a UK circuit built in the early 1900s. Not only that, but while we were there we took first place in one of the annual driving tests, which involves manoeuvring the car through a series of complicated circuits. No bother to the Nulty lads, of course.

More: My Favourite Drive: Geoff Walker on braving French rainstorms in a car with no roof

More: My Favourite Drive: Ollie Brannock revisits Killarney’s lakes where he proposed

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Paula Lyne

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