Hello and welcome to this weekend’s virtual walk.
Today’s walk is more of a stop off than a hike, but I thought that this slice of Irish history would interest you .
Today we are in West Cork on the N 72 main road – located 9 miles west of the town of Bandon and 4 miles to the town of Clonakilty ( so the milestone says ) to the tiny hamlet of Ballinascarthy.
If you are travelling this route it’s a memorable spot as you will see in the blink of an eye a shining bright full sized model T ford motor car. I’m sure many a visitor has screeched to a halt at the sight so, let’s take a look around and I will explain the significance of this place.
Ballinascarthy is the birthplace of William Ford the father of Henry Ford, who founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903 . William Ford was born in a humble farmstead not far away from this spot and emigrated to America in 1847 at the age 21, along with the rest of the family, including his brothers and mother, who was then in her 70s. William married in America to an Irish woman and settled on a farm in Michigan .
Henry was their second born on July 30, 1863. As a young man Henry helped out on the farm but showed great skills in repairing watches and machinery. Henry did not like farm work and so in 1879, he left home to work as an apprentice machinist in Detroit, and eventually was working on steam engines. His love of engines developed and it was not too long until he had not only built engines but a complete motor car !
Ford stated, “In 1892, I completed my first motor car, which can achieve speeds of 10 or 20 miles per hour “. This car’s features included 28-inch wire bicycle wheels with rubber tires, a foot brake, a 3-gallon gasoline tank, and later, a water jacket around the cylinders for cooling. Ford added that “in the spring of 1893 the machine was running to my partial satisfaction and giving an opportunity further to test out the design and material on the road.”
Between 1895 and 1896, Ford drove that machine about 1000 miles. He then started a second car in 1896, eventually building three of them in his home workshop.
The rest of the story we all know, and Ford went on to revolutionise the motor car and mass production techniques. Ford was always proud of his Irish roots and In 1917 Henry Ford selected Cork for the first Ford factory to be built outside North America.
Over the generations the ford family kept in contact with the homeland and the full sized replica of silver Model T Ford that we see today was erected in his honour in 2000 .
As you can see the local pub is named in his honour and just around the corner we can see the little lanes and old farm buildings that haven’t changed much since the Ford family emigrated in 1847.
I hope that you enjoyed todays visit and take care until next time,