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Sleek Sorento

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 29-Jul-2010

When the car market and particularly the large SUV sector hit the buffers Kia Motors were in the throes of replacing their biggest model, the Sorento. At that time Kia Motors Ireland were holding a large stock of the old model, which to their credit they managed to move before the arrival of the new Sorento. Just as well, the old model now looks so out-of-date compared to its replacement.

 

Before you start running down large SUV’s, it is important to put them in context. Of course they were never suitable for some of the uses they were put to in the recent past. As a school-run vehicle they were ridiculous. As a daily run-around they were equally silly. But don’t knock the car companies for selling them. We, the driving community were demanding them, and the bigger and more packed with the gadgetry the better. Thankfully much has changed since those heady days.

 

Now those who need these working vehicles are the ones that they are aimed at, and they will often buy commercial versions. Large families that need seven seats and use their SUV’s to tow trailers, caravans and sports equipment are also legitimate targets. This new Kia model is a sleek modern machine. Kia has bolstered the all-round quality of the exterior and the interior and as you would expect there is lots of space, substantial leg and elbow room in the cabin and space in the boot too. The third row pair of seats are essentially for smaller passengers, but row two is impressive for the amount of space there too.

 

Kia has fitted an all-new modern 2.2-litre CRDi 197ps diesel engine the packs a big punch when asked and offers smooth motoring when cruising along. CO2 emissions are 171 g/km which puts it just in to Tax Band E and annual road tax of €630. Mated to a well-spaced, six-speed manual gearbox the Sorento offers a range of torque for easy driving and tough work with equal ease. Kia Motors Ireland offer two trim levels for the new Sorento – EX and GSE. Standard spec for both models includes: 17” Alloy Wheels, Dual Air Con, Full Size Temporary Tyre, Cruise Control, Audio Remote Control plus iPod and USB connection, Roof Rack, Cargo Screen, ESP and HAC.

 

The Kia Sorento, which I have been testing this week, is the top-of-the-range 4×2 GSE version. Some of the extras above the more basic specification include: 18’’ Alloy Wheels, Privacy Glass, Door Scuff and Mood Lamp, Heated Front Leather Seats, Drivers Seat Electrically Adjustable, Rear Spoiler, Alloy Pedals, LED Rear Lights and Rear Warning Sensors.

 

One of the great dilemmas with these big bulky vehicles is that they are a handful to drive. You don’t expect sporty dynamics. You expect lots of roll in the corners and on roundabouts, and you get a fair share of it from this car. Some manufacturers spend huge sums of money trying to reduce this aspect of their SUV’s.

This Kia is a more back-to-basics SUV. It handles and drives like a traditional SUV, yet in the right environment it is not overly awkward. However you’ve got to keep wits about you. It behaves smoothly on the motorway and gobbles up the kilometres with ease, but it must be respected and driven with caution especially on bumpier country roads.

 

Essentially, this is a car for a very specific user. It is a workhorse with stylish intent. It will fill your driveway with a lot of metal and cut a dash on the high street. But, it is not for the school run, the shopping or going to church. In its segment it is well placed and well priced. Kia knows this and so do other big SUV manufacturer. So too do their customers and as an out and out SUV it is a decent effort especially compared to the old one and against many more expensive model.

 

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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