Irish Steam Preservation Society

The Irish Steam Preservation Society was founded by a small group of steam enthusiasts in Stradbally in 1965. Their main object was "to establish and maintain for the benefit of the nation an operating museum and to promote the permanent preservation of all types of machines using steam as their motive power, and their equipment and items of general interest of actual or potential historic or scientific importance and educative value."


Who founded the I.S.P.S. is a matter of opinion but it can be truly said that the late Colonel C.S. Kidd started the first Steam Rally in Ireland which was held at the Market Square on St. Stephen's Day 1965. An estimated 2,000 people turned up for this event. This was a huge turn out as no advertising had been done and what had started as a private get-together by 4 or 5 engine owners, turned out to be the largest gathering Stradbally had seen for many years.

From this Rally grew the idea of running a properly organised Steam Rally and Colonel Kidd lost no time in forming a Rally committee for this purpose. The committee got together and decided to run a Rally on the 1st Sunday in August which again turned out to be a huge success. On the following year it was decided to run a two-day Rally and each year since, the Rally has been held on the Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday weekend.


The venue for the event is Major Cosby's spacious grounds. In 1966 a narrow gauge railway was started in the grounds of Stradbally Hall and is now a mile long. In the following year, the Society purchased a building which was renovated and converted to a Steam Museum where member's engines are put on display.


The Museum may be visited any time and, like the Rally, is well worth a visit and will bring back nostalgic memories to the older citizens and also provide an opportunity for the young to indulge in their enthusiasm for steam.

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