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Cycle camping in Ireland in the Victorian and Edwardian eras

Griffin, B (2017) Cycle camping in Ireland in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. In: 28th International Cycling History Conference, 29 May - 1 June 2017, Technoseum, Mannheim, Germany.

Abstract

This paper offers an outline of an under-researched aspect of Britain and Ireland’s cycling history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that of cycle camping. It is well known that part of cycling’s appeal was that it allowed tens of thousands of urban cyclists to have easier access to the countryside. This often took the form of day trips by cyclists, either by solitary riders, groups of friends or, increasingly, by members of cycling clubs who went on ‘runs’ of several hours duration to scenic rural locations or favourite watering places. From the late 1870s, increasing numbers of cyclists also went on cycling holidays. The Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), founded in 1878, helped facilitate urban cyclists’ fondness for holidays in the countryside by establishing a network of recommended hotels and inns in which CTC members enjoyed reduced tariffs for meals and accommodation, as well as a network of volunteer guides who provided cyclist holidaymakers with information about local sites of interest. Some cyclists, however, preferred to spend their rural holidays under canvas, rather than stay in hotels or inns, whether these were recommended by the CTC or not. At first, cyclist campers were relatively few in number and acted as independent groups, but eventually in the early twentieth century two national associations were founded to provide a stronger organisational structure for these enthusiasts: the Association of Cycle Campers, in Britain, in 1901, and the Irish Cycle Campers’ Association in Ireland in 1902. This paper examines the activities of cycle campers in both countries before the formation of these two organisations, explains how the organisations came into being and discusses their impact. Particular attention will be paid to the roles of the two most prominent individuals individuals behind the cycle camping 'craze', Thomas Hiram Holding in Britain and RJ Mecredy in Ireland.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2017 16:00
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2017 16:00
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/9600
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