10 September 2008

Secret Irish speed limit

'As you go to cross the tiny, narrow, decorative bridge over the Shannon connecting Killaloe and Ballina, there is a large, vulgar, dirt-encrusted notice which says: 'Speed limits in kilometres per hour (km/h)'. The legend is repeated in Irish, for the benefit of the millions of fantasy people in this country who can only read Irish and know no English. But there is no number on the sign - that is, there is no actual speed limit specified. Just the statement.

The notice would be perfectly valid as a reminder for foreigners at the exit of a seaport or airport or crossing the border from Norn Ireland, but in Killaloe, you're just crossing the Shannon to the other side, so why is it there? And it's supported on two huge pieces of scaffolding embedded in concrete, so whoever put it there, put it there for keeps. Who is the guy on the County Council who sanctioned the notice and signed off on its construction, and what was he thinking of at the time? Wouldn't you just love to find out how his mind works?'

- Irish Independent, 8 October 2006

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