Ireland has never been a motoring nation. Apart from bolting together VW Beatles which arrived in crates from Germany between 1950 and 1980. That was Ireland's car industry.
Cars have always been treated with suspicion in Ireland, a place whose inhabitants still - subliminally or otherwise - hanker after donkeys and carts, piebalds and sulkies. I think it goes back to Dev and the rest of the statelet's founders, who treated urbanisation, technology and modernity as threats.
When young American guys were motoring off to the drive-in movies with their broads by their sides, young Paddy and Mary could only aspire to a bit of chaste stick-fighting, bogball or camogie at the local crossroads. Strictly segregated, and supervised by a priest.
It is no surprise that the only car assembled in Ireland - as far as I know, but am open to correction on this detail - was designed for a nationalist dictator whose vision (if not his interest in technological innovation) was a reactionary myth-based one. Just to clarify - I am talking about Hitler here, not Dev.
I had a look at one of the Irish Internet forums recently - Boards I think - on which a debate about VRT raged. VRT is the government's punitive "vehicle registration tax" which makes we Paddies pay over 40% more for our wheels, in some cases, than our lucky neighbours up north.
Some arsehole young Shinner (for they are young, and they are the future of this little shithole, natural forces save us) on Boards defended the tax on the basis that money spent on cars was "money flowing out of the country spent on luxuries".
I'm sure Dev would have approved. I hope the same poster uses public transport or, if he lives in the majority of places in Ireland with no such thing, uses his sturdy Gaelic feet to move about the crust of dear old Erin while denigrating the trappings of modernity and materialism. Gobshite.
Anyway. I've just come back from a visit to Autoworld in Brussels and have a few nice pics from automotive history for your delectation.
Young Shinners, crusties and Devonians look away now.