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‘Green’ Insight doesn’t inspire



Date Published: 06-May-2010

There are those who live life at the extremes, out there pushing the limits and letting the world know about it. And there are those who expend their energy in quieter ways, gently going about their work and leaving it for others to make the waves. Then there are the rest who try to exist from day to day going about life with as little disruption as possible and still try to enjoy it as much as possible – the silent majority if you like.


Some say that your car says a lot about your personality. Others believe that we drive what suits our lifestyle and then there is a section that just don’t give a hoot – the ‘A to B’ car buyers. The leading car manufacturers thrive on chasing every niche and lately on trying to be the first with the car of the future. While some tag along like sheep Honda is a manufacturer that has never followed the market; Honda is a leader of innovation and the science of car building and usually they get it right.


The Honda Insight is their latest Green car and inevitably it will be compared to the Toyota Prius – the World’s leading Hybrid car. There is a fundamental difference between the two though. Honda uses their Integrated Motor Assist system that is already available in the Honda Civic Hybrid. It means that the electric motor runs at the same time as the petrol engine as a booster of power. It never runs alone, as the Prius’ does. So, the Insight should drive and feel more like a regular hatchback.


It is a pity then that the Insight falls somewhat short of the mark. Yes it is a clever piece of technology and it satisfies the Green goal to a degree but Honda seems to have forgotten one vital consideration, the driver. The Insight just doesn’t deliver!


Yes, it passes all the CO2 tests, the economy test – 5.6L/100kms achieved – and the Government will reward you with a VRT refund for being a good citizen and caring for the environment. The interior is packed with computer read-outs, clever diagrams and all the diagrams you will ever need to keep you driving economically but it feels gimmicky and lacks refinement. You do get sufficient space and the boot is full-sized because the electrics are dispersed throughout the car unlike the Civic.


On the road, the car also fails to inspire. Here is where I and the Insight have our biggest differences. It just doesn’t exude confidence. It is noisy, fidgety, rear visibility is poor and most disappointing of all, it doesn’t drive or feel like a Honda. That is what is most puzzling. It is like a completely different set of engineers built this car compared to the Civic, the Accord and the Jazz. The Insight is fitted with a 1.3-litre petrol engine and mated with electric motor delivering 87 bhp and will go from zero to 100kms in 12.5 seconds.


I would be one of those of the opinion that the life cycle of the Hybrid car will be a relatively short one. Because developments in other areas of fuel consumption and zero emissions are now rampant sooner or later Hybrids like the Prius and Insight will become defunct. But, for now while there are still some good reasons for buying a hybrid the Insight is deficient in too many areas to become a mainstream seller no matter what your personality.



Make: Honda

Model: Insight Hybrid

Engine: 1.3-litre/Electric Motor

Achieved Fuel Consumption: 5.6L/100kms

CO2 Emissions: 101g/km

Price: €22,378

Gerry’s Rating: 5.5/10



Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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