How car ownership has changed the way we live

Cars have played a key role in Irish society over the past half century. Back then, not everyone had a car, so they were a novelty, a treat which created the notion of the Sunday spin, the journey to a match, the 'are we there yet?' moments that fill the memory boxes of so many families.

For those of us who used to play football on the main roads in front of our homes, there were a relative scarcity too. However, increasingly, car ownership became more egalitarian, and eventually all street footie lost out to the prevalence of the motor car.

And so this growth has continued. Where once there were a dozen or more identifiable car brands on the roads of the country, now, top international car makers have their latest models on our roads. Where once rail and buses were the dominant mode of transport for the general public, the proliferation of car ownership and finance deals to enable this, saw Ireland having rural traffic jams for the first time; and people taking pride in owning various brands, often carrying through generation after generation.

Over that half century, private cars have become an integral part of modern Irish society, and they play a significant role in our daily lives. They offer a means of transportation that has revolutionised the way we move around. Over the years, cars have evolved from a luxury item to a necessity for many. Owning a car gives us the freedom to go where we want, when we want.

Cars also play a significant role in the economy. They are a source of employment for many people, from mechanics to car manufacturers. The automobile industry generates significant revenue for many countries worldwide, contributing to economic growth and development. Additionally, cars and trucks have made it possible for businesses to transport goods and services over long distances, enabling them to reach a broader market and expand their customer base.

While cars have undoubtedly made our lives easier, they have also had a negative impact on the environment. They are significant contributors to air pollution, with emissions from cars being a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, there has been a push towards developing more eco-friendly vehicles that are powered by renewable energy sources such as wind-created electricity or hydrogen.

Galway, through its well documented congestion issues has become known as a City of Cars; not often the most positive monicker, but one which reflects the growing dependence many of us have on the motor car, a dependence encouraged no doubt by the lack of alternative transport options. Developments in the city in the last week regarding Bus Connect are setting out to change this and create a city where cars and public transport sit side by side, in which networks are created that will enable each option to flow to their optimum.

In this guide, we take a look at many aspects of owning a car; we examine the options for more environmentally sustainable vehicles; how these can be financed. We look at what the major car brands are planning this year and next; and we talk to some local personalities about their relationship with their cars. Enjoy...vroom vroom.


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