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Simply Superb



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



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

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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