Let's talk about car culture in Ireland for a second, and lets talk about the people you meet through cars. Car enthusiasts are generally speaking some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Personally some of my closest mates have been made through the car scene.
I met one of my closest mates through Minis. Not the big bloated BMW ones, no, the little old British ones. Those little cars, have a massive following the world over. Five and half million Minis were manufactured across the forty-one year production run and many people from many backgrounds have owned them. They are one of very few classless vehicles. And this was why they had such a cult following. My friend, Stephen and I used to chat to each other on one of the Mini forums - generally just chatting about the cars in general and what we could potentially do to them. Fast forward a few years down the line and we've become very close friends. All through a little metal box, designed in the 50s!!
That's the power of Car culture in Ireland, it brings people together, mostly with a positive impact.
The car culture in Ireland is so inept because, it generally doesn't discriminate. There are so many subcultures within the car world, that there is such diversity.
Growing up, I never really resonated with anything else apart from cars. Car culture is a funny thing because, as a young male you obviously can't scratch the itch legally. Yet I found my passion for cars always remained. I was never put off by the fact that, I couldn't have a car on the road. I still don't to this day due, to the severe lack of funds...that and horrendously expensive insurance quotes!
When I moved from Scotland to Ireland, I found that the car culture was substantially bigger. Car enthusiasts were enjoying the economic boom during those days, with high performance cars aplenty in those days. Unfortunately those days are gone but, we make do - we still hold the passion as much as we did in those days.
Unfortunately car insurers don't however, meaning that Ireland is both a great place and a shitty place to be for a car enthusiast. I mean, we have a great passion here for all things, four wheeled. But actually having a car on the road is another matter altogether. The insanely high tax and insurance prices these days mean that for a lot of car guys and girls - even simply owning a car is extremely expensive.
A typical first car like, for example a 1.4 6N Polo would cost around €400 to tax for the year. Which, when you think about it is, nearly more than your average 6N is worth nowadays.
My personal experience with cars has been frustrating as, I've struggled to get insurance on anything - I've owned three cars but, have to admit that I simply cannot afford to run a car here in Ireland.
And therein lies the issue, if you live anywhere outside of Dublin, you pretty much have to be able to drive to get around. Relying on lifts from mates, the laughable public transport system will only get you so far!! But, even having a job to support owning a car still makes it difficult to own a car. It's a vicious circle.