For a long time now, I’ve been meaning to highlight the speed ramps that adorn Doyle Street in the middle of our city because rarely a week goes by without somebody or other giving out bitterly about them. Nobody objects to ramps being present as, without doubt, some motorists were going much too fast up and down that residential street. The complaints refer to the actual structure of the present ramps. Though quite high, they appear normal enough but it seems no matter how slow motorists approach them, many still end up receiving a hectic bang to the underside of their vehicles and it would appear that the ramp closest to the Lower Yellow Road is the worst of the two boneshakers. And while I’m on the subject, the Doyle Street ramps have a couple of close cousins on the Rockenham estate roads in Ferrybank.

The wonders of nature

It never ceases to amaze me how, every so often, experts come up with ‘startling’ discoveries that everybody else has known about for decades. Granted, most if not all of the evidence is non-scientific but it is pretty overwhelming. In this instance the experts are marvelling about the fact that, five days before the recent earthquake at L’Aquila in central Italy, all the male toads left town in a hurry. Despite it being the breeding season, the single frogs were quickly followed out of town by all the breeding pairs.

Why should people be surprised? We mightn’t be able to say why it occurs but surely, at this stage, it is well known that animals have different sensory perceptions to humans and some can sense danger long before we can.

In the 1960s the old city of Agadir in Morocco was destroyed by an earthquake and, in the days prior to the actual event, every cat in the city skedaddled out of town as quick as their legs would take them. The devastation was so bad they just left the ruins where they lay and built a new Agadir a couple of miles up the coast. The modern Agadir is a popular sun destination for Irish holidaymakers who will have noticed that the town is overrun with cats. Every family now has a couple of moggies and, if they disappear for any length of time, their owners get very nervous indeed.

See The Munster Express newspaper for entire column.