In 2007, Rally Ireland was added to the FIA World Rally Championship. Although it was not included in the schedule for 2008 but returned in 2009 as the first round of the championship. The event extends from north to south of Ireland with a huge following showing up and watching the event live on television.
Around 250,000 spectators are present at the locations and the event is televised in atleast 180 countries. Furthermore, Rally Ireland was not supposed to be a part of WRC in 2010 but expected to show up in 2011. However, it was announced that Rally Ireland will not be included in the 2011 calendar. Since it is an event that manages to attract huge attention, let us discuss where does the Rally Ireland takes place and the locations. Let’s begin.
The Rally Ireland initially began as ‘Ulster Motor Rally’ and was introduced in 1931. It was similar to the Monte Carlo Rally as it was run through multiple starting points. The rally ran in the same manner for several years until it was converted into a 1089-mile circuit. Now, the rally would begin and end in Bangor, County Down following the coastline of Ireland. The circuit faced several cancellations later in 1957, 1972, 2001, and 2008 as well.
In 2007, Rally Ireland was canceled due to continuous disputes between the event organizers, operating company, and the sponsors. As a result, the event was replaced by smaller events organized by Ulster Automobile Club. Amongst them was the ‘Easter International Rally’ which featured 12 stages and was held in Tyrone, Londonderry, and Donegal.
Furthermore, the circuit was live again in 2008. Twenty-eight teams took part in twenty stages with fourteen teams finishing the crossing line.
The 2010 event was awarded Intercontinental Rally Challenge status. It was held in Newry, Northern Island. The event consisted of 15 stages in total, including a night stage as well of 29 kilometers. The 2013 Circuit of Ireland was canceled due to a shortage of funds but managed to be reinstated at a shorter scale. However, it was completely canceled due to bad weather.
In 2014, the Circuit of Ireland was held after resolving the issues of the previous year. In total, 18 special stages were covering a total distance of 230km in two days.
The 2015 event hosted both Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and European Rally Championship.
Furthermore, the 2016 event included the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, European Rally Championship, and British Rally Championship.
The 2017 event was canceled due to issues related to funding. Although attempts were made for two years but the efforts were unfruitful.
In 2020, the event was scheduled to take place after a 3-year break but the COVID-19 pandemic took place. In March, the event was suspended until further notice. After thorough considerations and keeping in view safety and health concerns, the event was canceled on 25 June 2020.
Belfast, County Antrim
Belfast, County Antrim is one of the locations of Rally Ireland. Racing along its beautiful shores, the second of ten rounds provides both the spectators and drivers a spectacular view of Ireland as natural beauty. Since the last event was a big one, it intends to be even bigger the next time as well.
Killarney County Kerry
This is the place where the music festivals in Ireland come alive. Offering stunning scenery, the folks of Killarney County Kerry know how to entertain their guests and make full use of the international standard event. Previously, the international rally of the lakes had attracted 170 cars. Therefore, it is only destined to become bigger.
Donegal, County Donegal
Donegal county will give you a hard time focusing on the cars as its splendid greenery provides a perfect background for such a special event. The 300km tarmac features suspense and surprises at every turn, therefore, you need to be tuned in. Donegal is a place that has everything for perfect rallying.
Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
The Ulster International Rally held in Enniskillen County Fermanagh adds prestige to the event. It gives the motorheads an additional chance to enjoy the races at night as well. Since it is one of the toughest stages to compete, the race could not get any better.
This article aimed to discuss where are all of the Rally Ireland locations? As it could be seen, Rally Ireland is struggling to come back into shape. The event holds a special place in the heart of the locals and has received tremendous support from fans all over the world. We could only hope that the event pops back into the scene as soon as the pandemic settles down.