BikeFest 2011, Killarney, Ireland

The recent June Bank Holiday weekend saw Killarney play host to its the fifth BikeFest event – although it was actually my first. Killarney is well used to hosting big events, I’ve twice stopped over with the Irish Cannonball Car Run in recent years, and once again, the Kingdom did a fine job of showing the national and international visitors what a great place Ireland can be when the sun shines.  I must admit, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what to expect, but I was surprised to find such a huge buzz throughout the entire weekend. Strolling through the main BikeFest area, its wonderful to watch the camaraderie between fellow bikers, seeing old friends meeting up after a long time, and also experiencing just how friendly many can be.

I’ve always said, motorcycles are a great leveller – no matter what your job type / sex / class, motorcycles bring people together like no other thing I’ve ever experienced. Its a common ground that unites everyone here. BikeFest is one of the largest gatherings of motorcyclists in Ireland outside of Road Racing. As I walk around the paddock I see Chapter patches from places as far afield as Saudi Arabia and  overhear more languages than I can comprehend. As with so many of these big events, I usually make a point of walking around the parking areas, as more often than not, they show up some real hidden gems, and the BikeFest weekend was no exception. From vintage Moto Guzzi’s to the brand new Ducati Diavel, virtually anything and everything can be seen in the bike park.

Aside from the live music throughout the weekend, which included Thin Lizzy & the very talented Hell Bells – one of the better AC/DC tribute acts out there, for me the highlight of the weekend was the Custom Bike Show. This gives some of Ireland’s professional and amateur bike builders to show their work off and be judged.  There were several categories including Paint, Vintage, Rat & Best Harley and the competition was up to a very high standard. After several hours of deliberation, the winners were announced – with Dublin Harley-Davidson claiming one of the top prizes for their ‘Eminate’ while their parts guru took second place with his own bike. If you’re looking for a great weekend away, next year I would definitely recommend that you consider a visit to BikeFest 2012!

To see more motorcycles from the weekend, visit my Flickr page here