Happy St Patricks Day ☘️ ☘️ ☘️
Ireland has given the world colour photography, submarines, Guinness and Bono but Ireland isn’t exactly known for its contribution to the motoring world, but Ireland does have an interesting automotive history, especially for such a small Island.
But how has Ireland played vital roles in the history of transports?
1898 – The first car imported into Ireland was a Benz Velo which arrived in 1898.
1907 – At the 1907 Dublin Motor Show, Alesbury Brothers exhibited its four-seater automobile, which was constructed entirely of Irish wood and had solid rubber tyres. It was powered by an 8/10hp two-cylinder Stevens Engine, and except for the engine and gear box was wholly constructed at the Edenderry Works factory in Edenderry, County Offaly. Just nine Alesbury automobiles were ever made.
1917- In 1917 Henry Ford established Henry Ford & Son Ltd. It began as a private venture and later became a division of the Ford Motor Company. Ford had over 7000 employees in Cork by 1930 and continued manufacturing vehicles in Cork until 1984.
1954 – The DAWB 6 Touring car was built in Belfast by engineer Davy Woods and motorcycle racer Artie Bell. It took eight years to build – they started in 1954 and finished in 1962. It features a six-cylinder engine and flush door handles and was nicknamed Davy’s Folly.
1958 – In 1958, Heinkel-Trojans were built in Dundalk, County Louth, under licence to Dundalk Engineering Company but production stopped soon afterwards due to poor quality control.
1960s – In the early 1960s, the York Noble bubble car was assembled in Short Brothers shipbuilders in Newtownards, County Down.
1962 – From 1962 to 1984 the Renault 4 was assembled in two different plants; one in Dublin and one in Wexford.
1978 – The most famous car made in Ireland is the time travelling DeLorean DMC-12. A manufacturing plant was originally to be built in Puerto Rico but the British Government offered DeLorean a financial incentive to build in Northern Ireland and in 1978 construction work began on a six-building, 660,000 square foot plant in Dunmurry in Belfast.
1980s – In the 1980s a version of the Clan Crusader was also produced in Newtownards, Northern Ireland.
1980s – In the 1980s the TMC Costin was made by the Thompson Motor Company in Castlebridge, County Wexford. This lightweight sports car was built from 1983 to 1987 as a rival to the Caterham Super Seven and the Westfield, both of which were derivations of the original Lotus 7.
1981 – Auto Montana Werkes (ATW) was established to manufacture an all-terrain vehicle named the Chico and nicknamed the Buncrana Beetle in County Donegal.