I first met these amazing twins, Dylan and Adam Kelly from Inch in County Wexford, at the Stradbally Steam Rally back in 2021. At that time, they were just ten years of age and in control of their two four-inch scale model traction engines, a 1978 Garrett and a Foster. During the winter of 2022 / 2023, they took on a new project to refurbish a seven inch, 1979 Freelance built Traction Engine.
Speaking to their grandfather, Pat Kelly, these two young boys have had a keen interest in steam engines since they were six years old. Modern technology has also been embraced by them for the study of these engines and to develop their knowledge and mechanical skills by using the internet for research to undertake their projects. They can always call on grandad, Pat Kelly, who runs and maintains his own full size 1900 Marshall Traction Engine, for assistance and advice.
Their enthusiasm extends to the local area as they bring the engines to the local school on field days where class mates get a small taste of the steam era; the smell of coal smoke and hot steam, the blast of the steam whistle and the excitement of sitting in the trailer for a ride across the sports pitch. No doubt when they all go home that day there may be a few parents complaining about the black spots on the clothes and the dark “makeup” they acquired whilst in school that day.
These are proud days for the twins. Their passion is inspiring and hopefully will draw in others to push out the boundaries in their activities and be themselves.
With a large engine in the family, and a keen interest and support from mom and dad, Caroline and Anthony, these boys are the future and a strong force in creating an awareness in the preservation of steam as a past lifestyle and culture that was once part of everyday life and a major contributor to the development of Ireland at the turn of this Century.