I got a good reaction to my column last week dealing with the good news story re WRH and ‘my memorable lunch’ with Dr T K Whitaker and the late Tomas McGiolla, thank you.

Well, got a chance to get away for a few days R&R in one of my favourite places in Ireland – Dun Laoghaire. We try to get a break there at least twice a year and the place never fails to work its charm. The walk along the Carlyle Pier is always a treat and entices all and sundry to take the sea air and wonderful scenic vistas ranging from Beann Eadair/ Howth to Bre Chualainn/Bray Head. Last August we took the Dart to Howth (for just a few Euro) and it being my first time there, I was truly impressed with the place. The harbour is bedecked with 3 piers, all were busy with a great buzz of activity. The first pier had a dozen fish shops if not more, though the mere description of ‘shop’ is hardly adequate to convey the wonders of their piscine wares on display. They in turn support and supply a good few attractive/enticing restaurants. All were busy with customers, be they locals or day-trippers so much so that I decided that it would well worth the likes of Waterford/Dunmore folk of a maritime/retail/commercial/business inclination to study the set up there with a view to developing something similar. If you have had the Howth experience you will already understand what I am on about – where ‘fish shops’ become a tourist attraction.

The other great walk from Dun Laoghaire is along the sea front towards Sandycove/ The 40 Foot/ Bullock Harbour/ Dalkey. On a sunny day this walk is literally breath-taking and rivals anywhere (second only of course, to our own Copper Coast!). Dun Laoghaire is just 11 miles south of Dublin City itself and serves by the Dart. Incidentally, the railway line along this route is the oldest in Ireland developed during the mid 19th century by a number of Quaker businessmen led by a Jonathan Pim. So there’s a brief glimpse of one of my favourite places – check it out and give yourselves a treat!

At last

So on the way back home we had the great, the not so bad and the ugly in terms of the standard of roads to be travelled/endured. Wow, the newly extended N9 to beyond Carlow is certainly great, in fact a sheer delight. From where that currently ends until near Gowran is not too bad but yet we will be glad to see the back of it. But from Dungarvan onwards is sheer ugly and should long ago have been put ‘out of its misery’ or should I say our misery! But mercifully and at last it will indeed be the last time ever this road will have to be endured by yours truly and many others as this section of the motorway is due for completion at the end of this month.

Now to literally go off at a tangent, a relevant one, I insist, a number of observations as to the ‘craziness’ others would be more tactful and confine themselves to calling them inconsistencies of speed limit policies. Because its designated a National Road ipso facto the limit is 100Km regardless of its seemingly endless twists and turns, acute bends, tight bridges. Then we have the ultimate ‘craziness’ and truly bizarre logic we have puny side roads/tangents going off the so-called national road boldly declaring limits of 80 Km – some are dirt tracks at best. The regulations somewhere must state that roads(!) that junction with a national road should/could be listed with limits of 80!! At either side of Ballyhale in particular, I have been tempted to pullover and take a few photographs of these crazy dirt tracks but usually it would be a hazard in itself even to attempt to do so, then again you have all seen them yourselves.

No way, Jose

Now you see where I’m going with this apart from being eternally grateful in seeing the back of them? Yet we have a wonderful example of road engineering locally in the form of the Outer Ring Road built to the highest standards with two wide lanes with a central barrier with a speed limit of 60 KMs – remember that’s a mere 37.5 miles MPH. I was most disappointed at the level of debate and positions adopted by most councillors recently. The consensus seems to have been that the limit is more than likely right as evidenced by the fact there have been no serious accidents. Well, the chief and most obvious reason there have not been accidents along this route is that it’s such a well built, therefore, safer road. For speed limits to be observed the rationale needs to be respected – absurdities rarely command respect. Perhaps there’s a school of thought that if the limit is kept at 60 there would in effect be an official/unofficial tolerance of up to 70. So they argue if the limit was higher then people would expect to be allowed push that ‘tolerance’ higher again. But that kind of thinking cuts no ice with the Garda with his/her speed gun! Not impressed – typical Irish fudge. It’s a super and safe road, engineered for safety, let’s have speed limits to match and enforce them – no problem! Now a word or two from the wise.

Albert Einstein Again

Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish. Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

Go Seachtain Eile Slan.