There was an air of pleasure, the like of which I hadn’t felt shortly. It felt odd and completely different, virtually alien.

The concept of getting up on a Sunday morning to do ‘automobile issues’ is one thing that’s been lacking for the previous few months. It felt so good to have it again.

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For the reason that world as we all know it modified dramatically in mid-March and the phrases ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ entered our on a regular basis vocabulary, the chance to simply get again to beforehand regular issues appeared immaterial. Right here in Eire, we have been locked to a 2km, and later a 5km (1.2 and three.1 miles respectively) radius of our properties. For weeks on finish, vehicles sat on driveways and in sheds, and the excitement of assembly folks fizzled away.

Final Sunday was completely different. It was a way of return, a way of normality, and a way of a world of outdated, but completely different in some ways. Hand sanitiser, face masks and encouragement to face 2m aside is one thing you’d by no means anticipate to see in a discipline packed out with vehicles, but when it’s what it takes to get again out and about, but proceed to deal with COVID-19, then so be it.

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The concept of blending vehicles with a cup of espresso is such a easy one. From its Southern California roots, C&C has all the time been a considerably non-show; are available in what you personal, recognize what everybody else has introduced, and luxuriate in a mid-morning brew.

I’m odd and don’t like espresso or tea, which is severely frowned upon in some elements, so ‘Automobiles & Chat’ has all the time been my interpretation of the C&C moniker. But it surely’s the one meet-up that may be so divergent.

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Any C&C that I’ve ever attended has been completely different in its personal method. There’s all the time going to be a showstopper that you’ve got by no means laid eyes upon earlier than, but additionally a passionate hoard of petrol-heads that may discuss with enthusiasm about their very own delight and joys.

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Within the late July sunshine, the Killarney Automobiles & Espresso venue started to replenish early. Marketed to begin at 10:00am, there will need to have already been 50 vehicles after I arrived 15 minutes early. For the subsequent few hours, the stream of automobiles was fixed, every carrying an proprietor excited to be again out and getting miles into vehicles which have sat idle for what appears like a lifetime.

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Amongst the early arrivals, this Mazda RX-7 left me standing in a trance. I’ve an unimaginable lust for an FD3S, so to see not only a stunningly clear instance – which is uncommon in Eire – however one sporting an unimaginable set of RAYS-made Mazdaspeed MS-02 wheels was simply jaw dropping. I did have a dialog with somebody whereas standing close to this automobile, however I don’t assume I registered a single factor as I used to be so captivated by the Mazda.

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Close by, one other JDM hero sat overlooking the Mazda – and it was owned by the identical proprietor. This R32 Skyline GT-R was just about as manufacturing unit recent as these vehicles could be. Unique the whole lot, save for some tiny little extra particulars below the bonnet, this automobile had a continuing circle of individuals milling round. Nonetheless although, at what different present would you’ve a Japanese icon parked alongside a 1950s British roadster and a contemporary Skoda Octavia vRS?

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I’ve all the time felt odd round taking pictures Automobiles & Espresso, primarily because of the truth that I typically spend these meets chatting and catching up with buddies. However such was the number of stuff that saved rolling in, I simply saved taking pictures. Additionally, and a more true mark of the instances we’ve been by way of, I hadn’t turned on my digicam since early Might, so I actually wanted to get again up to the mark.

Because the solar started to correctly blast down, I swivelled my head and caught a glimpse, by way of a crowded discipline of vehicles and other people, of one of many rarest sights conceivable.

Now, that is the purpose I get very odd, however one in every of my favorite options on this website final yr was Jordan’s visit to the Festival of the Unexceptional. I am keen on odd and quirky stuff that harkens to a time earlier than and through my childhood, so a very authentic, and presumably restored, Austin Maestro 1300 HL is like honey to me. Its so extremely unexceptional, but extremely great, and I do know for certain the proprietor completely adores it. Bonus factors for a rear sticker that reads ‘Cool’.

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The BMW crew have been represented strongly with a smattering of M3s and a few pretty E36 three Sequence vehicles, a mannequin that was the disposable and low-cost rear-wheel drive possibility not too way back, however has seemingly turn out to be a scarce basic in a single day.

I additionally loved getting a superb go searching a model new Renault Megane RS Trophy. Whereas not the higher costly, carbon-wheeled Trophy-R, the most recent providing from Dieppe continues to be a splendidly aggressive participant within the hyper-hatch market.


With the sunburn beginning to take maintain, it was ultimately time to make an exit. In fact although, having made the hassle of getting on the street at 8:00am, it could have made no sense to easily flip round and head house.


There’s a small street that leaves the city in the wrong way that’s fairly well-known, and no journey in that route ever feels full with no spin over Molls Hole.

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Within the firm of the potential pinnacle of contemporary efficiency hatchbacks – particularly a pair of Mk7.5 VW Golf Rs – the tempo was brisk, however my noisy and uncooked Peugeot 106 Rallye felt at house. Twisting up by way of what felt like a unending sequence of sharp turns and darty straights, the diminutive 106 made up for its many shortcomings.

I recently talked about the driving experience of this machine, and over the previous few weeks I’ve made an effort to easily take the time and correctly get pleasure from it on nice roads. That mentioned, it was pretty properly left for lifeless as soon as the Rs opened up on the quick and flowing part to the summit.


House by the mid-afternoon after a morning of fine vehicles and higher folks, I felt re-energised.

2020 has been a recreation changer. A lot of the automobile world everyone knows and love has been altered and altered in methods we by no means imagined, however the easy pleasure of getting out on a Sunday morning to benefit from the automotive life is one thing that continues to be unshaken.

Cian Donnellan
Instagram: Ciandon
Fb: CianDonPhotography


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