Monday, April 23, 2018
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Visit the permanent tsb Ideal Home Show this weekend

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Visiting to the permanent tsb Ideal Home Show is a valuable and worthwhile opportunity for home owners especially those undertaking a major project like building or extending their home.

Apart from the large number of architects, designers and even a number of builders exhibiting, there are talks and presentation from professional organisations like The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

There are hundreds of stands and thousands of ideas to help you achieve a home that provides you with the comfort, space and sense of well being that only Your Ideal Home can deliver. Don’t miss the spectacular Ideal Home Show-house and Family Home Extension by leading interior designer Kathtrina Furlong – Yours Personally and TV3’s Showhouse Showdown and built by Martin Prunty of Construct Plus who have has designed and built a 40 Sq. Metre extension, fully fitted, so you can see what works for you. Then there is the awe inspiring Colourtrend Interior Design Forum, The AVIVA SmartHome, the Mitsubishi Electric Home Advice Theatre, The Outdoor Living Space with free garden design advice, The Irish Times Home & Design Theatre including advice from the next generation of RIAI architects and all the latest ideas in Windows & Doors, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Furnishing and Décor. permanent tsb Centre Planning to buy, build, extend or renovate? Visit the experts on Stand N60. The Irish Times Home & Design Theatre Hear Ireland’s leading home interior design experts, RIAI architects and celebrities like ‘BBC’s Changing Rooms’ Presenter & Designer Linda Barker and QS Patricia Power (previously Room To Improve) Colourtrend Interior Design Forum Be inspired by seven individually designed and built rooms created by seven carefully selected Interior Designers who will be on hand each day. The AVIVA SmartHome: Learn how the latest home technology can help you manage and control every aspect of your daily life and save energy right from your smart phone.

Build, Extend & Renovate Pavilion Talk to experienced architects, designers, builders and suppliers. From first concept to the final touches – all you need to build, extend or renovate your home under one roof. The Outdoor Living Space & Garden Advice Clinic Get one to one advice from Michael O’Reilly of the Garden Design Shop and his team of landscape architects. See decking, conservatories, garden furniture, sheds and paving. Kitchens & Bathrooms More kitchens and bathrooms than ever before with a wide range of new ideas and designs. Tax Breaks & Energy Grants The Revenue Commissioners are also on stand K45 with advice on the 1st Time Buyers Help To Buy Scheme and how to avail of current tax breaks under the Home Renovations Incentive Scheme or talk to Sustainable Energy Ireland (Q30) about home energy grants. Ideal Energy & Technology Find out how to reduce energy costs and see all the alternatives in home technology, security, entertainment, insulation, alternative energy, solid fuel, boilers and heating controls to help you bring your house into the 21st Century – Free admission seminars, workshops and grant information. Lifestyle Inspiration. Make your day-to-day life easier with lots of great ideas, gadgets and accessories to help you around the house.

Whatever your home needs you’ll find it at the permanent tsb Ideal Home Show, RDS, Dublin, 20th – 22nd April 2018. www.idealhome.ie
Adults €15 – Kids Go Free – Students/OAP’s €10
Fri. 12.00 – 7.00pm Sat/Sun 10.00am – 6.00pm

Castillo Pools introduce their proprietary stainless steel Swimming Pools

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Many people dream of the luxury of having their very own private swimming pool but think it is too complex and expensive.
That is true of traditional pool construction but here at Castillo Pools we have developed a proprietary stainless steel pool panel system that can be configured to a design of your choice and makes owning your own pool affordable and easy to install.
Whether your building your dream home or adding some home improvements Castillo Pools can turn your project into a luxury sanctuary where you can relax and unwind with your family and friends.
With prices starting at £11,995* for our 304 stainless steel liner pool creating your dream home is within reach.

HIGH QUALITY BUILD STANDARD
The Castillo pool panel system is precision made in Ireland in a contamination free facility using processes that comply with ISO 9001 and EN1090 standards and bears the CE quality mark of approval .

To our knowledge it is the only structural pool system manufactured to EN1090 standards on the market.
Using the Castillo pool panel system you get a pool shell that is structurally self- supporting.

That means no messy and time consuming backfilling or concrete supports required.

INDUSTRY LEADING GUARANTEE
Stainless steel is a strong and durable material which unlike traditional materials requires only routine maintenance to last for decades without degrading, leaking , cracking or corroding.

With a Castillo pool peace of mind comes built in. Not only is the quality of the stainless steel and water tightness of the shell guaranteed we also offer an industry leading guarantee on the structural integrity of each Castillo pool system.

WATER TIGHTNESS GUARANTEED
With a Castillo pool we guarantee no leaks – water tightness is guaranteed whether you opt for a pool panel system manufactured from 304 or 316 marine grade stainless steel.

304 LINER POOL
The 304 pool panel system is bolted. To achieve water tightness with the stainless steel pool panel system constructed from 304 stainless steel we fit a high quality PVC liner over the 304 stainless steel structure.These liners come in a wide choice of designs.

316 WELDED POOL
The 316 pool panel system is welded. To achieve water tightness with the stainless steel pool panel system constructed from marine grade 316 stainless steel we precision weld all joints.

The pool shell is then treated to achieve in a selection of stainless steel finishes or it can be welded and tiled.

DESIGN FREEDOM
The system can also be configured in any size shape or design required. With Castillo you have total design freedom without needing to compromise.

FAST PRECISION INSTALLATION
The system is also quick to install and assembled in a fraction of the time required for traditional pool construction.
All components have been designed to be handled with ease and can be carried through narrow spaces, lift shafts and doorways making it ideal for any location including basements, roof tops or indoors or out doors.
All components are delivered to site ready for immediate assembly using only hand held standard tools.

A drill and two sockets are all the equipment required to fix the panels to the concrete base and to bolt the panels together requires limited personnel and no heavy construction equipment resulting in savings in time and money.

EASY MAINTENANCE & UPGRADE
As each Castillo pool is a self supporting structure requiring no back fill have total access to your pool allowing maintenance , repairs and upgrades to be carried out without the need to go through the finished floor.

ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE
A Castillo system is an environmentally responsible choice. Stainless steel as a material has significant environmental advantages as it is a recyclable and sustainable material. Also each pool has U Value ratings that exceed statutory requirements making it highly energy efficient and cost effective to run.

For more information contact us at info@castillopools.com or call us on 00 44 2825446116.

Source: http://castillopools.com/

Icynene Spray Foam achieves Agrément certification for direct application to roof membranes and felts

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Self-builders and home owners are always on the look-out for innovative products to help them comply with the building regulations and fulfill their broader environmental and aesthetic goals.

For these non-standard products, Agrément certification assists your building professional in guaranteeing compliance and performance.

Spray foam insulation manufacturer Icynene has in fact just finished going through the rigorous testing process to secure Kiwa BDA Agrément certification for its H2O Foamlite (LD-C-50) for both ROI and NI building regulations compliance.

Among the other certs under Icynene’s belt is one from the Fraunhofer Institute which tested the product to common Irish roof build-ups and climatic conditions, including felt on roof, contemporary new build with breathable membrane and black bitumen felt.

All of the certifications and testing held by Icynene covers and verifies direct application of LD-C-50 to both breathable and non-breathable roof membranes and felts.

Source: Icynene

Have you got Rust stains on your paving blocks?

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Rust stains on block paving can occur from water running over rusty metal fixtures/fittings.

Rust stains on block paving can occur from water running over rusty metal fixtures/fittings or from accidental spilling of weed/moss killer containing ferric sulphate and is probably the most difficult type of staining to remove from paving blocks.

Many of the dyes used in colouring paving blocks are based on iron oxides so many of the chemicals used in cleaning rust may affect the colour your paving also.

General purpose concrete cleaners may help to remove rust stains, depending on the type of paving that is installed the effects can vary. Sometimes a little vigorous scrubbing with a wire brush and detergent solution can remove the worst of the staining. I’m afraid with rust; it is a case of seeing which solution works best on your type of paving.

There are a number of possible solutions. It is always a good idea to try it out on a small, indiscreet area first.

Lemon Juice or Vinegar:

This method may not totally remove the stain, but can fade it so it doesn’t stand out as much. Apply the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon or clear, white vinegar.

Leave it on the stained area for 5 minutes.

While still wet, scrub the area with a plastic bristled brush and rinse well with water. Repeat again if necessary.  Lemon juice and vinegar can kill or damage foliage, so please use caution when using these products around plants and bushes etc

NOTE: Do not use chlorine bleach on any rust stain; it will only make it worse.

Hydrochloric Acid:

If the staining is severe, consider using a hydrochloric acid solution. Any acid needs to used very carefully and ideally it is recommended that you hire a professional to undertake the acid wash if you are at all unsure. If you decide to undertake the task yourself ensure that you wear the appropriate protective clothing – gloves, boots, goggles and so on – and always take extreme care.
To remove the stain firstly wet the area with clean water and then treat the area with a 7-10% dilution of a hydrochloric acid solution.

When diluting acids, always add acid to water and not water to acid. As the staining begins to dissolve some frothing may be apparent.

At this point agitate the surface by brushing a stiff bristle brush over the area to completely remove all trace of the stain. Once this process is complete the whole surface should be rinsed thoroughly with clean water, taking care to dispose of the run-off safely as soft landscaping can be severely affected by chemical treatments.

If necessary, repeat the process – it is better to treat the area several times with the correct dilution than to use concentrated acid, which may damage the surface of the paving.

Source: Barleystone

Kilsaran International launch new range of specialised concretes

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In response to changing customer demands Kilsaran International are bringing to the market, a suite of specialised ready-mix concrete products, designed to suit demanding placement methods, strength and durability classes.

Kilsarans Research and Development team have developed this range to meet complex building techniques and regulations across multiple sectors.

Our new Specialised Ready Mix Products include:

SealCrete Water Tight Concrete – A concrete solution that lowers the water / cement ratio in the mix but achieves any slump required. Reduces the capillary absorption and blocks the capillary pore structure in the concrete

AggCrete Exposed Aggregate Concrete – A concrete solution that evokes the alluring lustre of natural rocks and gravels. Developed to promote abundant coarse aggregate dispersion whilst retaining an ease of placement.

CemFloor Floor Screed – A cement based Liquid Floor screed produced using innovative materials to create a levelling or wearing screed suitable for architectural polishing

DuraCrete High Strength Aggregate Concrete – A concrete solution where the element requires ultimate strengths above 60N/mm² in order to fulfil engineering requirements

CompactCrete Self Compacting Concrete – A concrete solution using the latest technology in Mix Composition to create self-compacting concrete to cast architectural & structural elements in a variety of situations

LiteCrete Lightweight Concrete – A concrete solution using lightweight specialist aggregates to significantly reduce the weight of the mix by up to 50% allowing for lighter dead loads on a structure

ColourCrete Colour Concrete – A concrete solution incorporating a range of specialist pigments to create a coloured architectural finished surface

AgriCrete Agricultural Concrete – A concrete solution for agribusinesses proven to withstand the aggressive environments found in agricultural yards and structures.

To keep abreast of the full suite of our bespoke ready-mix concrete solutions please visit www.kilsaran.ie.  For further information on these or any Kilsaran products please contact us at info@kilsaran.ie and a member of our team will be in touch.

Source: Kilsaran International

Rebrand- Ecocem Ireland, Low Carbon Cement Producer

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Ecocem is Europe’s largest independent specialist producer of GGBS (Ground Granulated Blastfurnace Slag) cement with a capacity of 2.4 million tonnes. Significant developments in the organisation have seen a growing interaction across its operating regions in Ireland, Holland, France, UK and Sweden, as well as the emergence of new product opportunities following three to four years of innovation work.

The Ecocem Group have grown to be the European leaders in the production and use of GGBS cement. In order to capture this change, Ecocem is rebranding across the group.

Ecocem Ireland is an independent specialist producer of GGBS cement for use in the manufacture of high-quality, low carbon concrete.

Ecocem Ireland is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecocem Materials (also an Irish company) and operates a technologically advanced, purpose built facility in Dublin Port. Direct from this facility, the company supplies GGBS cement in bulk road tankers to customers nationwide and well as in 25kg bags to users all across Ireland and the UK. 

It is their mission to lead the way in the production and use of environmentally friendly cement.

The company has been on an innovation journey over the course of the last number of years. The journey has enabled significant change in the Group and the rebrand has been timed to tie in with Group integration and new product launches.

At the heart of the Ecocem brand is the concept of high quality and precision. The monogram icon was chosen to signify this approach. Combination of the letters “eco,” – the circular shapes coming together as one represent the various stages of a project and the icon is reminiscent of focus and a focal point.

At the heart of Ecocem is innovation and environmental sustainability.  The company tagline highlights this – Innovation Powering Sustainability.

It is an exciting time for the Ecocem Group as there are many areas that we are working on that will offer more and more opportunities for our customer to use GGBS within their market offerings,” said Managing Director of Ecocem Ireland, Micheál McKittrick . 

“This will cover areas as diverse as readymix, dry silo mortars, tile adhesives, screed, shotcrete, precast, roof tiles, piling and soil stabilisation. Many of these opportunities will be in areas that perhaps have not traditionally seen the benefits / usage of GGBS heretofore.  The potential to now achieve this is down to the work carried out by the Ecocem Innovation team over the last number of years.

“In some of these areas, experts within the industry would have considered it almost impossible to have solutions comprising significant quantities of GGBS. This is all about to change through the introduction of a range of innovation products,” added Mr McKittrick.

The tag line associated with the rebrand is “Innovation Powering Sustainability,” – and Ecocem certainly have the capability of achieving this.

To put the sustainability aspects of the product in figures – one tonne of GGBS has a carbon footprint if approximately 42kg CO2/tonne.

The figure for traditional cement is approximately 850-900 kg CO2/tonne.  Therefore a 95% carbon saving is achieved with the substitution of traditional cement with Ecocem’s GGBS.

The rebrand of Ecocem Ireland (which is tied in with a rebrand across the group) is an indication of the revised focus of the group over the coming years.  We have an exciting period ahead where we will be able to bring targeted solutions to customers across Ireland and the UK,” enthused Micheál.

“R&D Investment is core to the achievements within the group and will remain so going forward,” concluded Mr McKittrick.

Source: Ecocem Ireland

Cork City Passive House wins gold!

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A Cork city Passive house that was designed by John Morehead of Wain Morehead Architects has been awarded the first ever HPI Gold Certification. The Home Performance Index (HPI) is Ireland’s first national voluntary certification system for quality and sustainable residential development, developed by the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC).

This project having already obtained Passive House Certification and an A1 rating under the BER system, easily achieves nearly zero energy building (ZEB) in a truly sustainable manner. The criteria considered for the award are: environment, health & well-being, economic, quality assurance and sustainable location.
“This rating highlights the very high-quality features of this house and its sustainability credentials. The home was designed with a great focus on the well-being of the users,” said CEO Pat Barry of the Irish Green Building Council. “It has excellent day lighting, very good indoor air quality and is extremely energy efficient, meaning heating costs should be minimal. “The house has a Building Energy Rating (BER) of A1 and is Passive House certified. It was designed to have exemplary levels of water efficiency and should use up to 85% less than a typical home based on standardised usage,” added Mr Barry. “We were awarded the HPI award for this property and it is some achievement for us, we are beyond happy about it,” said John Morehead of Wain Morehead Architects.

“The house is a nice house, it is very discreet and it sits very well on a beautiful road alongside a series of one off period houses that would have been built in the 1930’s and the 1940’s and they are true to their time.
As to how this Architectural practice got involved with this project? “We met the clients during an industrial project we were doing and they were a part of the design team and we started to review the original house way back in 2005. We had a look at a number of different schemes to try and re-work the original house and in the end we produced a scheme in 2012 and we went on site in November 2014 and the house was completed in September 2016. “We had a protracted planning process which was rather sad and very infuriating for all of us. We applied for planning permission to demolish the existing building and we were breaking the mould a little in that we were doing a court yard style plan to link in the building element because we were trying to chisel out the block of the building as well as getting as much sun as possible in to the court yard whilst almost maintaining the clients’ privacy as well as not impacting on their neighbours,” enthused Mr Morehead. “There would have been a lot of solar studies done for the project and that is how the plan form materialised. In going for planning permission we got our very first refusal ever so we had to appeal it and we won the appeal but we then had to agree on a rear elevation with the planners and that became a very protracted affair,” John went on to explain.

Obtaining good solar gain is a key part of reaching the Passive House standard and there were some problems getting enough solar gains here. The long and narrow site is overshadowed to differing degrees by dwellings on the sides as well as mature trees. The site also faces North-East and it is bounded with 2.4m high walls that obscure any views. John Morehead and Jennifer Kenefick of Wain Morehead Architects came up with the design for the property comprising two-double storey sections connected by a single storey link. The property wraps around an internal courtyard that takes advantage of the sun at all times of the day whilst making use of the site depth. The finished design aims to balance light, connectivity of the internal spaces and integration with the surrounding landscape whilst also maintaining privacy. “It was a rather slow and lazy build but that said, it worked out well and the quality of the house is excellent. The house is running really well and it is extremely stable. The homeowners are delighted with the house. I think it must be rather unique having reared your family in one house and then to demolish that house when they have all grown up and to move back into a new house on the same site for the next stage of their life has been interesting for them.
“It isn’t just the house that is new, the gardens are also new as they have been given a new lease of life,” he enthused.

Throughout the house there are no draughts and there is no need to close doors, there are also very few corridors and doors in the house. Originally the home owners had wanted to install a stove but they didn’t need it due to how well the house performs. Upon entering the house, the living room is immediately facing you, it is looking at the front garden and the court yard, the garden faces out to the West and even though it is on the public side, the garden is screened with bamboo and other plants to disguise the garden from the public in order to be able to use the outdoor space to the best of its ability. When you walk right through the house, you walk by the kitchen, dining and sun room areas and back to the core of the house where the plant and utility area is; this area is all wrapped around the court yard. The kitchen itself is backed on with the pantry which has preparation areas. Upstairs you will find the bedrooms and bathroom.

“We would have looked at other sites for the owners of this house and they would have considered selling up but they came to the conclusion that they had a site and that the location was really good. The HPI assessment confirmed that the location was a really good location as Cork goes. You’re in walking distance of various things as well as having amenities right up next to you,” explained Mr Morehead.

In terms of the layout of the house, the link between the two elements of it is primarily the kitchen/ dining area. The house celebrates the court yard. There are also high level windows in the fact that it is a single storey mono-pitched roof. There isn’t much need in the house for artificial lighting due to the amount of natural light that floods the house. There is also car charging ports so guests can charge their cars when they are visiting the owners of the house.

“The building envelope of the house is all done to a passive standard which is a squeak about building regulations. All of the hot water in the house in generated from the exhaust air going out of the house. There is PV up on the roof as well as natural slate and a lot of natural timber and GGBS concrete used. The carbon count in that house is very low,” said John Morehead. “Having a low carbon count doesn’t have to cost anything; it is how you select your materials. The original house was demolished and in our contract documents we made sure that the demolition went to the right place and that it was properly processed,” he said. As to anything John would change when it comes to this project? “As our buildings are so air-tight we may have put in a more robust strategy in relation to drying out the building because we normally build in timber and there was a light weight block used extensively throughout this house so that is definitely something we would consider doing the next time,” explained Mr Morehead.

More than 7,000 people left without water Nationwide

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7,500 people remain without a water supply this morning as Irish Water and local authorities battle to repair hundreds of leaks across the network around Ireland.

3,000 people have got their water back in operation since yesterday and it is hoped that supply will be restored in the Wexford and Cork region  later today.

In various areas including Kildare, standpipes are going to be opened in order to provide supplies where leaks have been repaired but supply remains an issue.

Source: Various

 

Volkswagen Arteon

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A sleek offering from the German auto maker is sure attract potential buyers away from other premium brands. The Arteon has become Volkswagens new halo car, slotting above the passat in the model range and replacing the recently discontinued CC. The Arteon is more upmarket and larger than its predecessor and it’s now called a five door ‘fastback’ rather than a four-door coupé. I remember as the 2017 Geneva Motor Show neared that Volkswagen presented a successor to the CC, and the Arteon was named. Although, the German automaker wouldn’t look at it as a replacement as they have repositioned it quite a bit higher than the CC. Regardless, it shares the same platform, engines, chassis and interior as the Passat but it has improved styling and power. Volkswagen says the Arteon combines the design elements of a sports car and elegance and space of a fastback. When I first saw the Arteon while browsing online I had to do a double take. It’s clearly a striking looking car. Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design explains: “The Arteon combines the design elements of a classic sports car with the elegance and space of a fastback. “An avant-garde business-class gran turismo, it speaks to the heart and the head alike.”

But that body is a thing of beauty – sculpted bonnet, pronounced shoulder line, wide stance, fastback tail and classic GT proportions. The dramatic-looking front is dominated by a radiator grille that encompasses the full width of the car and extends into the large LED daytime running lights. The Arteon’s rear end is clean and modern, with features like a rear-view camera hidden away behind the Volkswagen plaque. Finished in six colours, the new Arteon comes in striking Turmeric Yellow, Pyrite silver, Manganese grey, Crimson red, Chili red or Atlantic blue. It looks as glamorous as a Passat sedan looks conventional and that’s before you go add the optional 19-inch chennai alloy wheels or go for the larger 20 inch options.

The old Passat CC had some issues with rear-seat headroom and vision out of the rear window, both of which have been sorted out with the new car although those over six foot might have some difficulty. Overall its very spacious and accommodating.
Its overall dimensions are larger than both the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW’s 4-Series Gran Coupe and the 2481mm wheelbase (up 131mm on the Passat CC) makes its rear seats roomier than both of them, too, offering a claimed 1016mm, or more than a metre. At 4862mm, its overall length is 95mm longer than the base Passat sedan and 65mm longer than the Passat CC. The Arteon is decently comfortable for five passengers and inside you would know you were in a Volkswagen with it being neatly designed and easy to operate all the techy stuff. The 8-inch touchscreen is neatly integrated into the dashboard and is very responsive with plenty of options. A larger 9.2 inch is also available. All models except the base model come with Active info Display which is the instrument panel to you and I. Giving clear display for content such as rev counter, speedometer and mileage indicator along with detailed information about your trip and driver assistance systems in your direct line of site on the dash display.
The elegance model pictured comes with alcantara and leather seats, as does the R-Line model. Full leather is also an option should you want it. The boot has a 563-litre capacity which is 23 litres down on the Passat saloon. With the rear seats being able to fold too a 1,557-litre load bay is accessible.

In Ireland the Arteon is available in three trim levels: Arteon, Arteon Elegance and Arteon R-Line. Standard equipment includes LED lights front and rear, 8“ touchscreen with navigation and eight speakers, 18“ alloys, VW’s latest infotainment system and App Connect, ErgoComfort seats, predictive cruise control, park distance control and rain sensing wipers. The Elegance model adds leather/Alcantara upholstery, ambient lighting, voice control, Active Info Display and rear view camera. The R-Line models add 19“ wheels, ‘R-Line‘ steering wheel and seats, running rear indicators, new dynamic cornering lights with predictive beam control anticipate when a bend is approaching and illuminate it before the driver actively turns into the bend, and adaptive chassis control on the 240hp model.

Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which also underpins vehicles like the Audi TT, the Arteon is a little bit sporty and a little bit luxurious. The Arteon has a choice of three power outputs of the 2.0-litre TDI engine with either 150hp, 190hp or 240 hp being the highest output which comes with 4MOTION all-wheel drive technology. The Arteon has a 150hp 1.5 TSI Petrol engine option along with a 2.0 TSI 190hp option. We expect the 2.0-litre TDI 150hp to be the big seller and this comes with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The larger 190hp and 240hp come in a 7-speed DSG.

The Arteon feels comfortable as you get behind the wheel for a motorway trip and it’s a nice place to be. Steering remains weighty and responsive, the suspension easily damps out impacts from the few bumps I encounter, and the cabin remains impressively quiet. You may never find the need or at least the opportunity legally to put the foot down in the Arteon but it’s responsive to a point and impresses and you should eat up motorway miles at ease. I’d probably be inclined to pick up a larger output diesel engine, such as the 190hp or 240hp if the budget allowed. Around town and on country roads it also was more than capable. With no noticeable body roll and plenty of grip the chassis is adapative to whatever roads I threw at it during my time with the Arteon. The larger wheels do look awesome I must admit and I know what I’d be going for if I was making a purchase but in saying that you’ll probably find the 18 inch options more easy to live with over the longer term.
For regular driving, you can choose the Comfort option in the Driving Mode Selection system for a smoother ride, lighter steering and more relaxed drive train, however it can feel a tad lazy. I prefer the cars normal setting for performance behaviour that’s just right and engineered as the best day to day option. Sport mode is too firm for all but the most frantic of driving but as a plus it brings with it the best and most intuitive weighting and directness to the steering feel. Normal mode is where it’s at but always nice to switch it into sport and feel a better connection with the car.

The Arteon seamlessly blends luxury car segment sophistication with its latest generations safety tech. The Arteon has full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests with an excellent 96 per cent for adult occupant safety. It comes equipped with the VW Group’s ‘Emergency Assist including Emergency Lane Change Assist’ system. How does it work? Well it activates when you’re using the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems (the latter nudges you back between the road lines if you stray) in tandem, provided you don’t respond to prompting to take over the steering manually. If you don’t respond to prompts, the onboard computer decides you may be asleep, or worse. If there is any suggestion that you are about to leave your lane unintentionally, Lane Assist alerts you and begins a gentle counter-steering action. Driving becomes safer and more comfortable, especially on long or monotonous journeys.

Conclusion
The Arteon is no doubt stylish and grabs attention when your out and about. If this is going to be a company car at least it’s something you can enjoy looking at compared to some alternatives which are a little drab. You also get the benefit of very good safety tech and an easy to use infotainment system. Space is also good so it ticks all the right boxes including value for money. I’d recommend a bigger engine such as the 2.0-litre 190hp diesel as while the drive was good there was times when I just felt a little under-powered.

Technical Specification
Model: Volkswagen Arteon Elegance
Engine Size: 2.0 TDI
Fuel Type: Diesel
Power: 150hp
Torque: 340Nm
Acceleration: (0-100km/h) 9.1 seconds
Top Speed: 220 km/h
Consumption: 4.5/100km
CO2 Emissions: 116g/km
Road Tax: €200 per year
Base Price: €43,295
Our Test Model: €52,497

Safety advice to stay indoors as Red Alert continues

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The public safety notice for people around the country to stay indoors has been withdrawn this morning as blizzard conditions associated with Storm Emma have now passed.

A Status Red alert will remain in place in Leinster, Munster and Galway until 6pm today, and the National Emergency Coordination Group has warned that conditions will remain “difficult.”

The remainder of the country has a Status Orange in place with heavy snow showers and icy conditions expected.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has urged people to exercise caution however, due to ongoing difficult conditions, and the overall advice remains to avoid unnecessary travel. A number of people were stuck in their cars overnight.

The red warning will remain in place for snow and ice with strong easterly winds for Munster Leinster and Galway.

“The blizzard conditions have passed but there is still heavy snow and strong winds, but it’s not in the blizzard-style conditions that we had last night so we have withdrawn the advice that people need to shelter indoors,” said  Sean Hogan of the National  Emergency Co-ordination Group Ireland.

“That was based on public safety but people still need to keep off the roads this morning. The only people on the roads today should be the transport and infrastructure people and the council who are out gritting the roads,” added Mr Hogan.

Source: Various