Garagewatch: With such a great attitude it's easy to drive a good bargain
From the moment you pull up at the forecourt of Tom Doyle's garage, you get the sense of a place well organised and laid out.
Inside you are met with a comfortable waiting area dominated by plush lime-green couches.
On the day we called, we didn't get to sit down on the suite, however. We were barely in the door – 30 seconds – when we were greeted by Tom Doyle, asking how he could help us.
He has obvious good taste. As well as owning and operating this state-of-the-art garage, he had Saturday's Irish Independent propped up on one new car's bonnet for reading in the front. And he had Monday's (the day we called) on another bonnet further back. Now Tom needs to get Wednesday's for the Motoring section.
We told him we were looking for a second-hand car in the €8,000-€12,000 range for work and homelife. Hey presto, we had a full list of his offerings.
Within a minute, he had narrowed down the cars that might best suit our needs. He then accompanied us to the forecourt to talk us through the merits and pitfalls of each.
On Tom's recommendation, we got into a 2008 Ford Focus 5dr Style with a 1.6-litre diesel engine to go for a test drive. Before turning the key to start, we noted the clean and roomy back seats and boot.
With just under 70,000km on the clock, there was plenty of life in it yet. Though the price marked was €9,000, Tom assured us there was room for 'a few more quid' to be taken off if we were interested.
The car drove so well that, upon return from the test drive, we were tempted to trade in our own chariot for that roomy and zippy Focus diesel right there on the spot.
Tom also had a 1.8-litre Style diesel for €9,800 which he wanted us to test drive – an offer we normally would have taken him up on except we had a pressing engagement elsewhere.
He could see we were genuine and was only too happy to produce a card with all the details to come back either for a straight buy or for a trade-in.
There was also a good selection of cars to suit all spread of budgets (he even had a 2000 Renault Scenic for €1,000).
Tom is one of the success stories of Irish business. Although his garage is situated well outside the town of Craughwell, he has managed to keep the show on the road in one of the toughest economic recessions.
We liked his attitude. We would buy here. And you never know, we might yet. Garages like this deserve to get on.
Tom Doyle Opel,
Galway Road, Loughrea, Co Galway
Models on display:8