by padraic deane
Fiona Conneely lives in Camus, Co Galway, having moved to Connemara from London over 20 years ago with her husband and four young children. Her children are now young adults and Fiona is the proud owner of a red 1989 Ford Orion, which is, in fact, older than three of her children.
The Ford Orion which boasts excellent health and only 30,000 miles on the clock, was recently passed onto her by her Aunty Kitty who is also her Godmother and who lives in Birmingham, England.
Fiona and her red Orion have become a familiar sight on the roads around Connemara since she imported the car from the UK in November last year.
“The car has become something of a conversation piece with people often stopping me to comment about the car. Many, many times people have stopped me to ask about the car and to admire it. Aside from all the attention it gets, I love it, it is a great car and is going very well in spite of its impending 31st birthday.
“My Aunty Kitty bought the car new from her local Ford Dealer in Birmingham in 1989. She cared for the car very well, she kept it in a garage when not in use and she only used it for going to the shops, church, and visiting friends so the car only has 30,000 miles on the clock.
“She followed the service schedule for the car to the letter and it is a testament to the build and quality of the car that it is still going strong giving us trouble-free motoring every day. The car has become part of the family and who knows, maybe we’ll have it for another 30 years!.”
Fiona’s Aunty Kitty emigrated to London from a small townland called Monananagh, just outside Ennistymon in Co. Clare in the 1950s. She met her husband Johnny Byrne who hailed from County Wicklow, in London and they settled in Birmingham where he worked for British Rail.
Kitty and her husband Johnny, like so many Irish emigrants of their time came home many times over the years to visit their relatives in Counties Clare and Wicklow.
Aunty Kitty, now facing into her twilight years, was forced to reduce her driving so she decided it was time to pass the Orion onto her niece Fiona. Fiona and her husband Joey flew to Birmingham last November to visit Aunty Kitty and drove the car home to Camus where she says that it is fast on the way to achieving celebrity status on the roads around Connemara.