A Sign Post

It’s been a while since I put up a post about ‘signs’ – I’m an avid collector of Irish ones. They have been a regular feature of Roaringwater Journal, but the last was 18 months ago (see it here). Wherever I go, I’m on the lookout: sometimes it’s just the little things that catch the eye – perhaps a spelling mistake – often it’s the sheer exuberance, like the one above guiding you around a corner at Ring.

Very often there is intentional humour; occasionally there’s a poignancy – especially when the sign is faded and you know it has long lost its purpose. But there can also be a sense of history. Here’s one from Ballydehob earlier this year – My Beautiful Launderette, which provided us with clean bedding for a decade (and paint, all manner of screws, hammers and nails), finally closed on the retirement of Kathleen and John: we can only wish them well. The iconic shopfront has just this week been painted over. An institution, now, which is only a good memory.

Most of the following signs speak for themselves. We will be familiar, of course, with the directives called for by the Covid19 pandemic. Here’s a variation, followed by a reminder of hopeful days back in the summer of 2020, and a message.

Most of the signs here come from West Cork; you’ll find others in past posts from all over Ireland. Official directives here have to be in Irish and English, except in Gaeltacht areas (where Irish is the first language). There, things can be quite disconcerting at times.

Even though I have taken some rudimentary lessons in the language, this one (above, in Ballyvourney) had me puzzled. But it’s simply telling you to be careful to lock your car.

I suppose if you missed either of the above signs, it might just be too late! If only you had noticed…

It means ‘Song (or Music) of the Sea’. I couldn’t resist recording this romantic house name, and wonder what view the occupants have? There is no shortage of information on Ireland’s wonderful history – an example below.

I can’t help wondering – why?

That’s not you that’s gone askew – it’s Mary’s kiosk on a bit of a slope! I’m always attracted by Guinness posters (there are plenty of old ones surviving here) – I learned to read from them in my younger days (below).

That’s quite enough for one day. Keep a lookout for yourself – and alert me to any good ones you encounter in your own travels!

15 thoughts

    • Me too, Michael – but it was the Guinness toucans that attracted me: I learned all the lyrics by heart. Never forgotten – eg:
      Toucans in their nests agree, Guinness is good for you.
      So why not try today and see – what one or toucan do!!

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      • Now that’s thrown me, I can see both in my mind’s eye and don’t know which one I was thinking of first.
        Knowing the lyrics, though, that’s just too… something… as nice as Guinness is.

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  1. What a precious collection, Robert! So funny. Some of them are definitely works of art. One of the ‘children playing’ signs reminds me of a medieval courtier with pageboy hairstyle. I’ve got a couple of contributions. At the entrance to a lane leading to Skipness Castle: “Loose and fearless poultry ahead.” And years ago in Wales, which made the local news, a bilingual road sign saying in English something like “no entry for lorries” and in Welsh “sorry, the translation service is currently closed” which someone had dutifully copied from an email, oblivious of its meaning!

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