An early rally participant
Irish Photo Rally is an annual motorcycling event that takes place all over Ireland. Participants take photographs of their motorcycle at a number of predetermined locations. Certificates are awarded by the judges for everything they deem worthy of praise or ridicule.
The basic aim of the Irish Photo Rally is to encourage people to get “out there” on their motorbike(s) and have some element of fun, travel and adventure. “Out there” will, ideally, be a bit off the beaten track and/or feature an unusual, historical or picturesque subject.
The event is run on a 32 county basis but the inland counties are lumped together - they can be dull compared to the coastal counties. Dublin and Louth are the exception, they are paired off because there are small counties and some numerical provincial balance is required. There are 24 locations and a close provincial balance - there are only 5 counties in Connaught so Leinster gets one extra anyway (7).
Taking part is as simple as going to the points listed. There's no need to pre-register. The list of points for the current year can be found on the map page. The list is ideally an eclectic mix of out-of-the-way places and quirky or interesting things. It is really designed to help people overcome inertia; to give them an excuse to get up off the couch and do a bit of biking and to find hidden bits of Ireland. You can visit as many or as few points as you choose. A photograph of the designated point is required with your bike visible - you are encouraged to be creative. If a pillion passenger is entered they must be clearly visible in the photograph.
To submit an entry, you must visit at least 12 points. A bronze award is given for visiting at least 12 points, silver for visiting 18-23, and a gold award is given for visiting all 24 points. Details on how to enter are available on the Submit Entry page. An interest in photography is not essential – however it just might add an additional dimension to the event.
The rally, in the context of motorcycle riding, is not competitive. Badges are awarded for photographing a preset number of locations. Special awards will be given for the best set of photos, best photo, oldest bike, smallest bike etc. A formal presentation is held in early Feb each year where badges and special awards are handed out. The final, formal act of the presentation night is the launch of the current year’s list.
Disclaimer: It is the responsibility of each rider to determine for themselves whether it is safe to visit the designated points. Due to varying factors such as the weather, the suitability of the motorcycle, the ability of a rider etc, Irish Photo Rally and its organisers cannot be held responible for the safety and security of participants.
A modern rally participant
The original Irish Photo Rally was run in 1974 and 1975 by Eamon Morrissey from Limerick. The idea originated God knows where but there have been photo rallies in other countries (Scotland in the late 70’s). Eamon ceased running the event after two years and Andy Deane – then based in Dublin, now in Cork - ran one or two in the mid to late 70’s.
The Boyne Riders, a motorcycle club based in north Leinster ran the Photo Rally from the late 70’s to the late 80’s. They then ceased to be an active club but the former members remained close friends. Lorcan Green and Gerry Christie, over a few pints in 2002, decided to revive the event for 2003 and use the Boyne Riders name.
In 2017, due to a huge increase in the number of participants, the Irish Photo Rally migrated to an online application system. Participants must now register their entry online and upload their photos before submitting their paper album. Paper albums are no longer compulsory, giving participants the option to participate in a digital-only format.