Harrigan's Irish Pub Run and Lunch

29 January 2018 / Story by John Hansen, Photos by John Hansen & Graham Rochester

A hot Saturday morning on 20 January saw the assembly of six MX-5s at the Port Macquarie Service Centre, a.k.a ‘The Donut’ for the first official MNC Chapter run for 2018. A variety of MX-5 models made up the group. Graham with Elma had wrangled a demonstrator white 2017 MX-5 RF from Port Macquarie Mazda for the day to showcase the car to members. Keiran and Peter brought their ‘new’ NB Heritage Model, a maroon colour with a spotless tan interior, Chris had driven down in his ND from Coffs Harbour, Leonie and Steve having a run up from Forster in their NC and Judith and John in their newly acquired NC. Although the temperature was rising we all put the tops down and travelled south to Johns River for morning tea.

Rosie’s Café at Johns River is a favourite eating place just off the highway with delicious home-made scones and biscuits and slices. Graham gave demonstrations on the remarkable roof folding mechanism of the MX-5 RF. Roof up, roof down, roof up and down this could have gone on all morning! Seriously it was quite an amazing sight and showed off the ingenuity of the Mazda engineers. Hunger satiated we were ready to tackle the back roads on our way to Harrington.

The Pacific Highway had a considerable amount of traffic on it for a Saturday which lead to a slow and uneventful trip to the Coopernook turn off. As an added incentive to safe and responsible driving this section of road is rather renowned for patrol car presence.  After passing through the small township of Coopernook we were on the back road to Taree Airport. I have mentioned in previous reports that one of the attractions of the Mid North Coast is that within minutes one can go from a rather urban environment to MX-5 style country roads with the bonus of beautiful scenery all around. The vegetation was quite lush and green and with the top down the sounds of birds and cicadas were clearly heard. Wind in the hair, fine day, bird sounds and the air-con on full blast, MX-5 humming along an almost deserted country road what a way to enjoy a Saturday. Almost deserted roads, still require concentrated driving and sure enough we came upon a milk truck with not many safe overtaking opportunities. The truck eventually turned off to a small town and we had the road to ourselves again. A cry over the two way from Kieran and Peter that they had suddenly ‘lost’ two gears 5th and 6th and were searching around for them. After brief stop Peter found them again and we proceeded without further incident to the coast village of Harrington stopping for lunch at Harrigan’s Irish Pub.

The sun was mercilessly beating down and the temperatures seem to be climbing higher. Joy and F.Stelco whom we had met at the pub on last years run. Joy and F.Stelco drive what we call a Mercedes MX-5 type sports car with folding roof! We missed seeing David it turned out that there are several Harrigan’s Irish pubs in the immediate district and Harrigan’s at Harrington is quite a way from Harrigan’s in the Hunter Valley!

We enjoyed a good lunch. One member ordered a Mega Parma and it was the largest meal that most of us could remember ever seeing; certainly, enough for two people. As one can imagine this elicited quite a few entertaining comments from the table. Graham gathered the crew together for the photograph on the banks of the river. The view of the Manning river is quite stunning and then it was off to Crowdy Head for the next obligatory photograph against the light house and coast line as a backdrop. Crowdy Head is where the Manning river meets the sea and the coastline north and south is most impressive with crescent shaped beaches and a varied hinterland.

This was a fitting backdrop to say farewell after a very pleasant day of driving, eating, being out in the scenic countryside with camaraderie between club members. The sun had been turned up to high, so your scribe put the roof wound the windows up with air con on full blast for a trip back home to Port Macquarie. Thanks go to Graham Rochester for organising the run.

Thanks to all members and guests who attended the first ‘Run’ for 2018.

Graham Rochester [convenor Mid North Coast], Peter and Keiran Rodgers, Peter McDonnell, Chris Clark, John and Judith Hansen, Leonie and Steve Martyn.

Guests, Elma Wade, Michael McDonnell, F.Stelco and Joy Latham.