Road repairs in rural Ireland peak in the summer months. Favourable weather is responsible. Always be ready for holdups and diversions. ‘Boreens’ – narrow roads in country areas – are often unable to take the machines required to cut edges, fill potholes and restore surfaces while letting traffic through at the same time. In the worst cases, alternative routes can add many kilometres to a journey. So, when setting out, always leave yourselves plenty of time.
Here’s our Yeti straddling the border between Cork and Kerry on the Priest’s Leap road. That’s one of our favourites: the scenery is outstanding, but there can be problems if you meet someone coming the other way. In fact, that difficulty is present on very many of our local byways: hone your reversing skills!
It’s not always other vehicles you have to watch out for . . .
A rural road can be a challenge: never be in a hurry. You just have to go with the flow, even if that means reversing for half a mile. In that situation, of course, the main difficulty is making the decision as to who will have to reverse: you, or the vehicle coming the other way. If that oncoming vehicle is a large tractor and trailer, you may not have much choice.
Yes, there are still a few roads around in very out-of-the-way places which are not surfaced as you might expect. They fit well into their rural surroundings!
Take care not to get lost . . . Some of these boreens are not even marked on the map!
Give a thought to those who built these byways: quite a lot of engineering has been involved in carving through rocks to create a more or less level route.
Some roads lead to a dead end. I prefer those that fly high – over the mountain passes; the scenery never disappoints.
. . . The Road goes ever on and onfrom ‘the old Walking Song’ by J R R Tolkein
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say . . .
There’s always a reward to be had for travelling uphill: it’s the view from the top!