An Irish Foster Border Queen 2
Old Glory|February 2017

While Declan Lordan from County Cork has rallied his traction engines in Ireland for many years, his first venture‘across the water’ in England came in September 2016 with a visit to the Bedfordshire Steam&Country Fayre with Foster No 14636, writes Alan Barnes.

Alan Barnes

A lifelong steam enthusiast,Declan was kind enough to tell me something of his interest in steam engines and about the history of 1936 Foster traction engine No 14636 Border Queen 2,which he had brought to the BSEPS rally.While some rather damp gloomy conditions prevailed for most of the three-day event, Declan and his family thoroughly enjoyed their debut at the rally and with a grin he did say that the weather made him feel right at home.

Although Declan has been involved in his carpet and furniture retail business in Bandon, County Cork for more than 40 years, his love of steam goes back to his boyhood. “Steam engines have always been a major part of my life, going back to the days of my grandfather who was a threshing contractor and had his own engine. My grand-uncles all worked with steam and my father also grew up with steam on their farm although sadly that engine did not make it into preservation and was scrapped in the late 1950s.”

With the family connection with working steam having come to an end in the late 1950s, it was Declan’s father Sean who rekindled the interest in steam in 1973 when he bought their first traction engine during the preservation era.This was Clayton & Shuttleworth traction engine No 43173 of 1910 Betty’s Pride.

The Clayton was fitted with a generator, a canopy and showman’s fittings by Declan’s father in the late 1970s and was renamed Carbery Queen.The engine remained in this form for a few years but was later returned to its original configuration once again, complete with its original name Betty’s Pride.

As Declan recalled: “My father buying Betty’s Pride really marked the start of my own interest in steam and we started taking the engine to our local steam rally at Upton – an event which had begun in 1970 and which has now evolved into the Innishannon Steam &Vintage Rally. I am now a member of the committee for this event and I organise the steam engine section.”

The Innishannon rally is an annual event traditionally held over the Irish Bank Holiday in June and has become a very popular rally with a varied selection of exhibits on display. According to the committee: “Our rally has two objectives – firstly to promote steam and vintage and items of heritage and provide a venue suitable to the enthusiast to show items of yesteryear and to allow the public to view such rare treasures. Secondly to raise funds for a very needy and deserving cause,The Irish Cancer Society”. To date the rally has raised well over 1m Euros for the society.

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