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All things Cars and Irish

All things Cars and Irish


With St Patrick’s Day looming, we look beyond the Guinness and spotlight at all thing Irish and automotive, with a few surprises along the way!

Ireland Gave Us Ford Motor Company

No, that’s not a mistake, in a very real way Ireland gave us the Ford Motor Company; Henry Ford may well have started his eponymous business in America, but he would never have been there had his father, William, not emigrated from County Cork in Ireland in 1846, with Henry born in Michigan in 1863.

Parade of old Ford motor cars through countryside

No Ireland, no William, no Henry, no Ford.

Back To The Future

The iconic Back to the Future film franchise wouldn’t have been the same without Irish input either. Who can imagine the time machine being anything other than a DeLorean? This ill-fated car designed by American, John DeLorean, was built on a massive site in Dunmurry, Belfast. Plagued with problems from the start; a poorly trained workforce, design issues and shocking build quality, the DeLorean’s futuristic body belied its poor performance.

The DeLorean motor car from Back to the Future

Its $25,000 price tag was very steep in 1981, the equivalent of nearly $70,000 or £50,000 today. For that you got a car that looked great, but leaked; could barely haul itself from 0-60 mph in less than 11 seconds and for a supposed ‘sports car’, could only just reach 130mph

Sadly, the writing was on the wall and after all the fanfare of its 1981 launch, the DeLorean ceased production, just one year later, with just 8,500 had rolled out of the mammoth factory.

Fortunately for us it re-surfaced in 1985 as the star of Back to the Future.

Shamrock Is More Than A Plant

Long before American, John DeLorean, built and then shattered his American dream in Belfast, another American with big dreams, William Curtis, started manufacturing HIS dream car in County Monaghan, Ireland.

Fittingly called the Shamrock, this was truly an all-American looking car. Built with a one-piece fibreglass body it was given the nickname the Irish T-Bird, to be fair most people simply stared with shock when they saw the 17 foot long Shamrock; it had huge front and rear overhangs and was at the time likened to  more to “a parade float than a car”!

It had just 59 bhp under its vast bonnet and limped from 0-60 mph in just under 20 seconds. Never destined to take the world by storm this American dream also met its end, with just 8 to10 cars ever produced. Local folklore says the left over fibreglass bodies and other parts were dumped into Lough Muckno, a nearby lake, before William Curtis returned to America.

Old advert for the Irish built Shamrock car

Wild Atlantic Road

The island of Ireland has its fair share of breath-taking, heart-stopping, life-affirming roads and the majority of them are on the Wild Atlantic Way. A stunning coastal route on the Atlantic side of the island the route starts from the Northern Headlands in Northern Ireland and finishes in the South on the Haven Coast.

WIld Atlantic Way Irish coastal exploration

To drive this route is to come to face-to-face with stunning beauty and terrifying drops! From some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Sliabh Laig to the blue flag beaches of Clonakilty in the South, the Wild Atlantic Way is a road trip you’ll never forget.

Ireland Loves

Ireland’s top selling car in 2017 was the Hyundai Tucson, a small SUV which wins the crown as the hands-down favourite. Runner-up is everyone’s favourite the Volkswagen Golf and taking the final podium position is the Nissan Qashqai; cross the Irish Sea and the only top-seller in common is the globally ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf.

Ireland's favourite car the Hyundai Tucson

And Finally...

A trip round automotive Ireland wouldn’t be complete without an Irish joke, so, with apologies to all, here it is!

Five Englishmen in an Audi Quattro arrived at an Irish ferry port.

Paddy the officer stops them and tells them: "It’s illegal to have five people in a Quattro, Quattro means four you know".

"Quattro is just the name of the car," the Englishman retorts disbelievingly. "Look at the papers: this car is designed to carry five people."

"You can't pull that one on me," replies Paddy "Quattro means four. You have five people in your car and therefore you’re breaking the law."

The Englishman replies angrily, "You idiot! Call your supervisor over, we want to speak to someone in authority!"

"Sorry," responds Paddy, "He’s busy sorting out 2 guys in a Fiat Uno”!!

Laughing man