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Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog March 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, welcome to another report from the trenches.

Let’s start with an update on my best mate Dusty the Jack Russell. She arrived one year ago on the 17th March 2014 and I suppose she should have been called Paddy but she was rather dirty and dusty so the humans thought it a fitting name.

I suppose she was lucky cause at one stage she was going to be called Smelly. They tend to lack imagination when it comes to names.

She is in great form but maybe putting on a little too much weight. She is supposed to be on a diet but I don’t think she knows it yet.

Not much to report this month after the excitement of the Radio programme in February 2015… check out my great picture on the The John Toal Show website.

Harley and Dusty resting after a busy day on The John Toal Show - The Abingdon Collection
Harley and Dusty resting after a busy day on The John Toal Show

A few new collectable signs have gone up on the wall but the guy I own is having difficulty smuggling many new items past his wife.

We are expecting a busy spring with many new groups already booked and I hope that someone brings me something to eat… I am also on a diet but am finding it difficult.

My day never changes – I get up, go to the toilet, go back to bed, go to the toilet, walk about the yard, go for a walk, eat, play, chase Dusty, go to the toilet, sleep, eat, and then go to bed.

I suppose it’s not a bad life but I am four now and think that it is about time I got a real job.

Anyway, if you want to visit me phone him on 028 8224 3373.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog February 2015

Some thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Well that was some weekend! We had The John Toal Show from Radio Ulster live from the collection on Saturday. My mate Dusty and I were warned not to bite anyone, not to bark and to behave while the visitors were here.

Me, being a very well trained and obedient Beagle Harrier kept to my word, while Dusty tried to ingratiate herself with everyone and turned on the charm. People are so easily duped. Poking your head out of a pink duvet and looking cute does not gain any points with me but she gets away with it. She will do anything for a biscuit!

Back to the story. Harley gets told to stay quiet and does his best, Dusty gets told to stay down stairs but halfway through the choir’s first song disappears up the stairs to be petted, poked and cuddled like treats wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Life is so unfair. I did get to hear some great singing and tried to join in but was told to shut up by the man I own.

Great smells from the kitchen of fried venison, but did I get any, not a chance. Some humans did come down to the garage and gave me the odd pat on the head but I knew that tease Dusty was upstairs getting the cuddles meant for me… it’s not easy being forty kilograms and still growing.

I think that I will go and scratch myself along the bumper of the 1955 MGA as a protest, but wait I hear plates being cleaned and food may be on the way… I always live in hope.


Check out the 21st February 2015 edition of The John Toal Show on demand.

TripAdvisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence - The Abingdon Collection

TripAdvisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence

TripAdvisor have awarded The Abingdon Collection with a 2014 Certificate of Excellence.

This award honours hospitality excellence and is only given to organisations that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor.

The Certificate of Excellence is an unexpected bonus for us and we would like to thank all the visitors who took the time and effort to complete the reviews on TripAdvisor.

The Abingdon Collection attempts to recreate a time gone past while raising much needed funding for Cancer Research UK. The generosity of the public has been exceptional and makes the continuing development work on the collection all the more important.

The Abingdon Collection represents a unique alternative tourism product in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Small private collections, which open their doors to the public, are now few and far between but the interest continues from visitors, both local and worldwide.

We thank everyone who has visited us for their continued support and invite you to take ‘A Walk in the Past’.

Out and About in Ulster - The Abingdon Collection

Out and About in Ulster

The Abingdon Collection was recently featured on ‘Out and about in Ulster’, a local magazine programme from Irish TV, Ireland’s newest and most exciting live digital media platform.

As well as showcasing the cars, motorbikes, militaria and memorabilia, Philip was interviewed about the challenges of collecting and maintaining the collection. The programme, which covered several aspects of Omagh life, was broadcast by IrishTV.ie at 7.00pm on Monday the 21st April 2014.

Out and about in Ulster April 2014 - The Abingdon Collection
Out and about in Ulster April 2014

Click on the link below to see the programme:

If you are interested in arranging a visit, you can contact The Abingdon Collection by post, phone or email

Contact: Philip Faithfull

Address: The Abingdon Collection, “Abingdon”, 16 Gortnagarn Road, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT78 5NW

Telephone: 028 8224 3373

Mobile: 07715 455170

Abingdon Collection goes from Strength to Strength - The Abingdon Collection

Abingdon Collection goes from Strength to Strength

This has been the best year yet for visitors to THE ABINGDON COLLECTION, with collectors, enthusiasts and tourists arriving almost every day.

The kind remarks now being made on TripAdvisor have encouraged visitors to come along and make a day of it, particularly if they are visiting the Ulster American Folk Park.

The collection is beginning to receive some very good national publicity and we have recently seen visitors coming from America, Australia, Canada and the Continent.

Irish visitors still make up the majority of our numbers and Cancer Research UK are really benefiting from the generous donations freely given.

So if you want a day out with a difference give us a call and get an experience which is unique and also has a free history lesson included.

Nick Murray – An Appreciation

Omagh lost one of it’s true characters last week with the untimely death of Nick Murray. Nick was originally from England but will always be remembered for his contribution to the life of Omagh.

When classic car enthusiasts talk of local legends then Nick was always mentioned and in his own way, he created a mini industry and reputation for classic car restoration in the West of the Province. He was a talented engineer but also an authority on old vehicles and used his knowledge to rebuild some of the best ‘nut and bolt restorations’ in the North.

With friends he would scour the Country in the 6O’s and 70’s buying abandoned old military vehicles and wrecks, bringing them home to Jail Square and then bringing them back to life. He will be best remembered in Omagh for driving around in old American Military vehicles including Jeeps and a very rare Dodge command car and he was ahead of his time in recognising the value of saving these historical vehicles.

For twenty years he drove the countryside in his beloved 1953 black MGTD and would never miss a local classic car show. With his late wife Kathy, he drove through the towns and countryside raising a smile from the public particularly with their loving dog Ben sitting on Kathy’s knee and looking over the door of the car.

When Kathy recently died, a light went out in Nick’s eyes but they are now together again. Nick Murray is remembered by many as a gifted artist, a talented mechanic and restorer and a true friend. The classic cars he leaves behind are a lasting true legacy of his life’s work and will stand the test of time. 

He restored cars for many local and distant collectors, gave advice to many, helped many and made lasting friendships throughout the world of classic cars. If you wanted to know anything about MG’s you had to see Nick Murray and he was always there to help.

The thoughts of all his friends are with his two beloved daughters at this sad time but his memory will live on in the quality of the restorations he completed over the last 50 years and when people ask ‘who restored that car for you?’, the answer will often be…

‘Nick Murray of Omagh built it’

‘Wow, he did a fantastic job.’

From Philip Faithfull and all his friends and colleagues.

Harley Ate My Gearknob - The Abingdon Collection

Harley Ate My Gearknob!

In December 2010 I was persuaded to take in a 10-week-old Beagle from the local dog pound; an unwanted Christmas present that needed a new home.

This new addition to a house, already containing two cats who hate each other, created its own form of absolute chaos. The dog was quickly named Harley, after the motorbike, and Harley the Beagle Harrier soon began to take over the house.

In the first few weeks of living with us Harley ate furniture, skirting boards, supposedly indestructible toys, and produced enough waste to make me wonder if someone was delivering ‘take out’ food to him during the night, particularly of the extremely smelly curry variety.

Anyway, that sort of sets the scene for Harley’s arrival and the next few months saw the tiny pup grow into a 30 kilogram muscle bound monster who had to be walked by my wife or myself four miles every day. It’s a great way to lose weight, and sometimes friends, but we are lucky to live in the countryside with some great long walks only a few miles from home.

Harley loves the car and I made the mistake of commenting to my wife Hazel, that Harley was always on his best behaviour when travelling in the car. Famous last words!!

Harley loves travelling in my wife’s 2002 Garnet Red MX-5 Montana – a great car that we have put over 125,000 miles on in nine years of ownership.

It was a lovely day in August when I put Harley into the passenger seat, strapped him in and prepared for a four-mile hike in the mountains. Then I got called over by my next-door neighbour and had to leave Harley for exactly three minutes alone in the car. No problem. He had never posed a threat to the MX-5 before. Why would today be any different?

It was! Looking through the front windscreen Harley had disappeared from his usual position beside the steering wheel. I approached the MX-5 with an increased sense of dread and trepidation. Had he escaped or was he simply lying down on the passenger seat bored of waiting to get into the starting blocks for his walk?

No… I could see as I slowly looked in through the window that Harley had decided that the beautiful brown wooden Nardi Torino gear knob was ripe for destruction and was at exactly the right height to fit exactly into his mouth and was an excellent teething toy for dogs.

I opened the door, almost started to cry, and watched Harley’s big brown eyes look away from me as if to say… ‘I know something’s wrong but I’m not exactly sure what the problem is here.’

The gear knob was a mass of splintered wood gauged out by huge teeth marks, part of it already swallowed and the rest lying forlornly on the floor of the car. I could have said more but my only relief was that he had not the time to eat the wooden steering wheel and handbrake handle.

Anyway, off we went in silence for the four-mile walk with me having dark thoughts about taking him off the lead, hiding behind some trees and running to the car before he missed me!

To cut a long story short I checked eBay and found a Nardi gear knob for sale on there. I bid and bought it for £35, as new.

Harley loves the MX-5 with the window down or the roof off, ears flapping in the wind.

We also have 20th anniversary MX-5 model in red, white and blue. Will he ever get into it? Only if he learns to open the door himself!!

By the way, Harley ate the mud flap off my 1986 mint Opel Manta last week. One year on, would I change him? Not a chance.

If you are visiting Northern Ireland why not visit Harley and the Abingdon Collection in Omagh, Co. Tyrone. Check out www.theabingdoncollection.com or telephone 028 8224 3373.

By Philip Faithfull from Northern Ireland.


Reprinted with permission from Soft Top Hardtop, the MX-5 OWNERS CLUB magazine.

See the original Harley Ate My Gear Knob article or visit the MX-5 Owners Club website.

Cancer Research UK - The Abingdon Collection

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to research into the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer and is the largest single funder of cancer research in the UK. 

The charity supports research in all aspects of the disease through the work of more than 4,800 scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK who have contributed to 19 of the top 20 drugs used to treat cancer patients worldwide today.

Cancer Research UK currently spends over £2million each year in Northern Ireland alone on research. Belfast is home to one of our new Cancer Research UK centre’s which will help set the pace for national and international progress in research into bowel, oesophageal and breast cancers.

It will also concentrate on pioneering the latest techniques in radiotherapy, improving cancer diagnosis and developing new, more effective drugs.

Survival rates for cancer have doubled in the last 30 years. But one-in-three people will still get cancer at some point during their lifetime. Cancer Research UK’s groundbreaking work, funded entirely by the public, will help ensure that millions more people will survive.

For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work in Northern Ireland please follow this link.

Would you like to fundraise for the charity? Then please call 08701 60 20 40  or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org.uk