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Simply Superb

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Date Published: 12-Aug-2010

I’ve thumbed through the specification a hundred times, double and triple checked the price and still find it hard to believe that you can get so much car at this kind of value in any other catalogue. The Skoda Superb Combi (Estate) is a phenomenal motor car.

 

Every Skoda that I have driven in the past three years has surpassed expectations. This one blows away all preconceived notions out of sight. I tested the incredible Elegance spec this week and just didn’t want to part with it.

 

Firstly, I must admit that I am an Estate fan. I would much prefer a good estate to an MPV or an SUV. Secondly, I am also a Skoda fan and now I have found the near perfect vehicle for me.

 

You won’t believe the huge space you get when you first look inside. Take a peek at the phenomenal space that translates into an enormous amount of legroom in the back particularly.

However, there is so much more to admire about this car and while the boot space doesn’t quite match the cabin for sheer volume, it is big enough for most families’ needs – 633 litres of luggage space and it will carry a lot more cargo when expanding to 1,865 litres with the seats folded. Throw in a combination of clever luggage nets and sliding aluminium partitions to secure both bulky and loose loads and you know Skoda has thought of everything down to a boot light that can be removed and doubles as a handy LED torch.

 

It is driven by a Volkswagen 2.0-litre 170bp engine which is well-proven and needs no explanation. It has a top-class six-speed gearbox (DSG Automatic is an Option) which is well-spaced and offers good low torque and easy cruising at the higher end. Annual road tax for this car (Tax Band C) is just €302 with CO2 emissions of 155 g/km.

 

Inside this car screams of quality. It comes with a complete leather package with highly polished wood panelling and the ambience of a top quality car. Both driver and front passenger seats are electrically controlled and all seats are heated.

 

The base Surperb Combi alone comes with generous equipment levels with items such as dual –zone climate control, leather combination interiors, colour touch screen sound systems, BlueTooth phone connection and cruise control offered as standard from the middle of the range Ambition model.

 

My test car, the top of the range Elegance adds satellite navigation, adaptive bi-xenon lights and a park assist system that will actually control the steering of the vehicle during tricky parallel parking manoeuvres. In fact it almost parks itself; all you have to do is select the right gear. The extensive safety package includes ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and seven airbags including a driver knee airbag are standard across the range. Skoda even supplies you with a handy umbrella, which is tucked into the rear door armrest.

 

Frankly, I can’t remember when I got such complete satisfaction from a car that I got from having the Skoda Superb Combi in my life. Yes, there are more luxurious Tourers, Estates and Sports Wagons out there with more sought-after badges. Yes, others will offer you many of the goodies that the Superb offers. But, few offer the range of features as the Elegance version of this car. And, none will give it all to you at the price.

At €33,395, this is the best value family Estate on the market today. If you can live without some of the premium gadgets and settle for the base diesel model, all you will pay is €25,415. It really is superb, simply superb.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Archive News

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

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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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