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Whenever I get lost in Ireland - which is often - people I speak to say "Of course". There is a meek acceptance that one will always find oneself on the wrong road while trying to get from point A to Point B; that one must visit most of the other 24 in the points Alphabet as well.
I thought for a while that it was just bad sign-posting, or sometimes no sign-posting, but I feel that here is something more subtle at work. It may be an aspect of the Irish character.
A friend mentioned that until Ireland joined the European Union, there were no speed signs on Irish roads - or if there were, they were as rare as hen's teeth. It partially explains why very few Irish drivers in my experience, obey them. The same attitude seems to apply to getting anywhere. 
But the Irish road network is a spider's web of infinite complexity, that, like a spider's web is set to trap the unwary, or anyone wanting to get anywhere.
The internet conglomerate Google decided to place their European headquarters in Dublin, and I suspect this may be to study their satellite photographs of Irish roads in more detail. In the UK, I could find my way around satisfactorily via Google Map - right down to the last country lane; but in Ireland they get to within a couple of miles and adopt the 'and it's all plain sailing from here' - and it really isn't.
This week, I allowed Mr Google to plan my journey to a venue near Wexford. The intructions ended with 'and continue straight on to your destination' or words to that effect. Even studying their map, I concluded that I needed a left turn; a second on the right, then a left before I came to rest. Except there was no 'second on the right' after the left turn, unless I turned into some poor innocent's driveway, drove through their back fence, across a field, over a hill and ... Well, I don't know because I couldn't see over the hill.
In attempting to get in the general direction of my destination, I lost all sense of which way was up. Totally. Turned too many times to know where I should be headed. 
Only when my lovely wife sacrificed life and limb by running in front of a small van, arms flailing in desperation (wife, not van) did we find a local able to tell us that we were within a gnat's whisker of where we were going. 
On the return journey the route was more straightforward, and armed with a few instructions we headed off with hope in our hearts and the expectation of a warm welcome on our return home. After a time we became aware that although we seemed to be heading for the motoway home, we were heading south to Waterford instead of north to Dublin. How did that happen? Not sure really, and cannot blame the Irish really.
The essential problem is inherent in the name, 'The Emerald Isle'. It is all the same. Turn left, right, north, south, up or down, there is little to distinguish Ballykissangel from Tooramalee - certainly for the novice. A codicil here is that I am a long, long way from knowing all Ireland. The West of Ireland speaks a lot to me of the Hebrides, but we have yet to go there. The East, however is field and trees and rolls gently along; but the same as here or there. They say the Devil is in the detail; Google needs a Faustian pact to get their detail right. Enough for now.

Follow this link for some interesting stuff on the subject...


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