Book reviews, February 1989, February 1989

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Green Dust — Ireland’s Unique Motor Racing History 1900-1939 by Brendan Lynch. 160pp. 91/2″ x 7″. (Published by Portobello Publishing, distributed in UK by Menoshire Limited, 49 Churchfield Road, Acton, London W3 6AY . £13.95).

Brendan Lynch is a journalist well acquainted with motor sport, having written for many Irish and British magazines, and his depth of knowledge is immense. What is quite outstanding about this book is the sheer amount of research he has undertaken from sources all over Ireland.

Major events such as the 1903 Gordon Bennett race, which was held in Ireland due to the hostility of English bureaucracy towards the automobile in general, the Irish Grands Prix of 1929, 1930 and 1931, and the Tourist Trophy races are well covered. It is the local events, however, wherein lies the real value of this history.

Phoenix Park in Dublin, for instance, the venue for the Grand Prix, first became famous in an automotive context for the 1903 Speed Trials. Charles Rolls, Selwyn Edge and Baron de Forest (who broke the Flying Kilometre record in the Park in his Mors) were just some of the top names attracted to this event which brought crowds of a size which some circuits even today have difficulty in attracting. It was in the Thirties, though, that motor racing really caught on in Ireland, and most of the book duly concentrates on that decade.

A postscript details those Irish drivers who have competed in the international arena since 1945, an influence which is still strong to this day. It was for this book that Brendan Lynch won the Guild of Motoring Writers’ presigious Pierre Dreyfus award for the most outstanding effort of 1980; there can be no higher reconunendation than that. WPK