How to sum up the Cannonball? The thrill is in the moving, gaining ground, the nomadic freedom in watching the landscape change as you fly by, stopping on impulse, reigniting the same inner thirst for discovery and new experiences that started us on this journey back in 2009. Back then when we set up the brewery we didn’t really have a fixed road map, no previous compass, just a desire and a fire for new experiences. A thirst for something new.
The Cannonball brought us back onto the open road. Nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nowhere to be. The vintage car is far more than a car — it’s an allusive work of art, a slice of history that tells the story of the zeitgeist of the time, a token of carefree days. As you slink into the vintage leather seats and rev up an engine that’s seen better days, you know that you’re not simply driving a car – you’re surrendering to an exhilarating experience. In today’s world full of trends, those who drive a classic car still feel that sense of rebellion against the status quo. Something Galway Bay Brewery was built on. A refusal to follow the existing precedent and a resistance to the ‘norm’.
The vintage car was also built on integrity and artistry, created back in an analogue world where designers still used pencil and paper to create the designs. The results of this are creations that have weathered the passage of time, only adding to their character.
Unlike the Burt Reynolds’ Cannonball Run movies from the 1980s, there’s no winner on the Retro Cannonball – instead, the one hundred participants cruised in their retro cars from Belfast down to Wexford while raising funds for The Hope Foundation, an Irish charity working with street children in Kolkata, India.
The weekend kicked off on Thursday night in Northern Lights Belfast where Galway Bay Brewery hosted a party with live music, food and Galway Bay Beer for all the participants to mingle before the event. Curious passers-by got an opportunity to stop and get a photo with the Galway Bay Brewery branded black 1966 Corvette Stingray 427 parked outside with an open rooftop.
The Cannonball Route began at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter on Friday June 10, with GBB Founder Jason O’Connell and Ed Dunne doing the official honors of raising the flag with Alan Bannon from Cannonball. Speeding east in the sunshine from the historic Titanic Quarter, a procession of 100 classic cars then drove in convoy down the scenic east coast, disentangling ourselves from the cityscape as we drove towards Hollywood and into the rugged coastline towards the first pit stop – Slieve Donard.
After lunch, the Cannonballers made their way towards the ferry at Greenore across Carlingford Lough before taking the first overnight pit-stop at Naas in Co Kildare. Stories shared and tales of ‘bumps on the road’ were recounted over a relaxed BBQ in Kilashee house with plenty of Weights & Measures and Full Sail cans for everyone to enjoy after their long day on the road.
On Saturday June 11, the Retro Cannonball convoy continued down the east coast through Glendalough and around the Blessington Lakes. The train of colorful vintage cars roads spiraled in contrast to the bleak and beautiful backdrop of the Wicklow mountains. Excited children cheered on their dads and waved flags as we pit-stopped in Johnny Foxes for a bite to eat. All too soon we’re on the road again; this time bound for Wexford, via the Old Military road towards Rathdrum. Flying past mountains and small rivers, all revealed with a clarity of vision that was breathtaking.
Lively and embracing, Wexford town was lined with hundreds of children and adults cheering on each car at the finish line with representatives from the Hope Foundation. Still basking in the shared spirit of adventure, the cannonball drivers took the opportunity to unwind at the drinks reception hosted by our brand ambassador Simon Broderick in Whytes Hotel in Wexford, followed by a charity auction for the Hope Foundation.
Speaking on the partnership, Hope Foundation said “We are very proud to be the charity partner of Cannonball Ireland again for 2022. Your generosity, and that of your fellow Cannonballers, will ensure that we can continue to alleviate the suffering of some of the most underprivileged children in India, as well as their families and communities”
There was over 130K raised which will allow The Hope Foundation to continue to fund and run 60+ projects throughout Kolkata and West Bengal. These include eleven protection homes where vulnerable children rescued from dangerous situations are provided with a caring and safe environment in which children can learn and grow into independent, successful and happy young adults.
Further information: https://www.hopefoundation.ie/cannonball/