Wednesday 21 March 2018

I wheely truly loved the first car I owned

You'll always remember motor number one

Kirsteen O'Sullivan

THE memory of my first car still brings a smile to my face. It was a silver Daihatsu Cuore that cost around £1,500 (€1,750) and looked like a cartoon car, it was so tiny.

Always impatient, I learned to drive in two weeks in Scotland and had my heart set on buying my first car and driving it back to Belfast, where I was living. It was over Christmas, so there were hardly any garages open. I picked the best out of a bunch. The Cuore had low mileage and was easy to park for a first timer, so it was the chosen one.

That wee car was my first taste of true freedom, and I pretty much travelled the length and breadth of Ireland in it. It was small, but despite the one litre engine it could go. It was hilarious – at high speed on the motorway it sounded like a hairdryer. There were many great road trips had in that car, with the music blasting and my cat beside me in the passenger seat.

My fondest memory of that car was when a friend from Norway came to stay with me and we took a road trip up to the north coast. I was her tour guide and showed her the entire area, including the Giants Causeway.

I now drive a Skoda Yeti four-wheel drive which I adore, but I dream of a Lamborghini Miura – so rare and expensive, I doubt I'll ever get my mitts on one, but a girl can dream.

Originally from Fife in Scotland, Kirsteen O'Sullivan lives in Dublin with her husband, David, who's from Sligo. A regular face on Xpose, TV3's fashion and celebrity show, Kirsteen has also presented Champions and Europa League shows.

Gavin Duffy

A Nissan Primera bought for the princely sum of €5,500 was my first set of wheels. It wasn't a choice motivated by style or desire but by a necessity for mobility.

I was in college and training full time, so rather than rely on buses and the odd taxi, my dad knew someone who was selling it and said it was a good reliable car to get me going. And it was. I think the longest trip I took in it was from Galway down to Cork for a match as I couldn't go on the team bus due to an exam.

Apart from being clamped a couple of times, a hazard of living in Eyre Square, it never gave me a minute's trouble. Eighteen months later my mum took it off my hands for a reasonable price.

My current car is a Mazda 3, but if money was no object I'd settle for an Aston Martin DB9.

Gavin Duffy is captain of Connacht Rugby. A Ballina native, he has 149 senior caps for his province. A former Mayo minor footballer, he played in the 1999 All-Ireland minor football final against Down. He was one of four Connacht players called up to the Ireland squad for the 2012 tour to New Zealand.

Clodagh McKenna

My first car was a cheap and cheerful used Renault Clio that I bought for €1,500.

At that time my days were spent going from farmers' market to farmers' market where I would set up my stalls, so the car gave me much independence and freedom. Much as I loved my Clio, running out of petrol became a constant feature of my life.

One of the worst times was on the Cork to Midleton dual carriageway. I had my car packed with food equipment as I was on my way to a farmers' market. I had only just pulled over when the car stalled, but a lovely lady pulled in and offered to help. She was actually a customer of mine and she transferred all of my things into her car and took me to the market. It was a really bad experience made good.

After four years of much abuse and reliable motoring, I sold my Clio.

I now drive a Volvo XC60, by far the best car I've ever driven, but I still have fond memories of my first car.

Clodagh McKenna is a chef and food writer. In 2011 she launched her best-selling cookbook, 'Homemade', in the US. Her series 'Clodagh's Irish Food Trails' is currently airing on US TV.

Nick Munier

My grandfather drove a classic black Citroen DS. It was his pride and joy. I loved the way the suspension used to rise up when you turned it on. The seats were so comfortable too. He kept it so clean, it was always shining.

When it came to buying my first car, my dad – who also drove a Citroen – did a deal for £5,000 (€5,800) and I became proud owner of a Citroen ZX.

It changed my life completely: I was able to just throw all my equipment in the boot and off I'd go. Huge freedom.

The longest trip I took in the car was from London to the south of France. Despite the lack of air conditioning, the wonderful scenery more than made up for it.

The most memorable moment in that car was travelling to Ireland to start at the K Club, all my belongings with me – I even had an ironing board. It was a big step in my life, both personally and professionally, and looking back now on the changes that have happened since, memories of that drive will be with me for a very long time.

My love of Citroen continues unabated to this day, and my current set of wheels is a Citroen DS4. But recently my head has been turned by the new Citroen DS3 Cabrio – one in silver with a blue roof and blue leather seats would do me.

Nick Munier began his career at the age of 18 in the catering industry. Probably best-known as the maitre d' of ITV's prime-time show 'Hells Kitchen', he is also co-owner of Pichet restaurant in Dublin's Trinity Lane. In September 2011, he appeared as a judge on RTE's 'Masterchef Ireland'.

Irish Independent

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