Sure Signs

Another post about signs in Ireland: I ‘collect’ them and update them every few months. The slippery banana – above – is a classic and is to be found in the City Hall in Cork. Following it are a whole variety of examples with – hopefully – some touches of humour about them. Others have to be classified as eye-catching curiosities, including this magnificent bright blue cockerel.

Mostly, the signs just speak for themselves…

These cheerful cups can be found at a wayside Holy Well.

The gate above, also from Cork city, shows what architectural gems are waiting to be discovered on the streets. I was pleased – and puzzled – to come across the following:

If you visit Knock (above) you can collect your own holy water. This is my report on the place. Here (below) is a curiosity – not far from our West Cork home: an old signpost marking the distance in miles. You might say it’s one that got away!

Quite right! The orchids at Toormore Church are spectacular, and have to be looked after.

A coded message from another world, perhaps?

Signs can be enigmatic here in Ireland. There’s usually a reasonable explanation for them, though.

There’s plenty more where these came from (in fact they come from all over Ireland). Keep a watch out yourselves!

What’s in a Word?

We live in a world full of words. I can’t resist them – particularly when their context shines a humorous – or puzzling – light on them. Not just signs with words on them: sometimes it’s images – shopfronts – posters – that make you stop and have a second look. But then, I probably have a very particular sense of humour. I have every respect and good wish for the residents of Cheekpoint and Faithlegg, for example, but juxtaposed on the Waterford road sign they are eye-catching. Pointe na Síge is the ‘place of the Shee’ (or fairies), while Fáithling was the first parish name to be established following the 12th century Norman conquest: as far as I can make out, it derives from the term for ‘a wooded area’.

A ‘word wall’ signed by its author is from Wicklow (above). But we have encountered many examples of less formal poetry: I won’t call it graffitti . . .

It doesn’t really matter, I suppose, how legible the message is: as long as it has made you stop to take a closer look it’s been effective. Or reflective . . .

Sometimes they are simple, like the one above. I wonder if this next one is a mathematical formula?

Shopfronts have to be eye-catching and arresting, of course, to draw you in. There are witty examples everywhere.

One has to admire the entrepreneurs – of all persuasions.

in my distant youth – when I was learning to read – my go-to’s were the large, colourful, Guinness posters at the bottom of our road. I am pleased to see that many of those images haven’t gone away – even after seventy years!

While all that is, intentionally of course, a stirrer of nostalgia in us – there are many more of our own time worthy of study.

Finally (for now) we just found this old petrol pump hidden around a corner. Who remembers those days when an attendant had to come out and fill you up . . . and it was all done in gallons, shillings and pence?

Postscript . . .

The Season for Signs

Yes – it’s ‘Sign’ season again. I’ll make an excuse that any season is, in fact, ok to put up another selection of signs from Ireland. But not just signs: I use the opportunity to add in a few peculiarities which we encounter on our wanderings. Here’s one I saw only yesterday – a roadside stove! I’m not sure how much it would be adding to our global warming . . .

Good advice abounds – and it’s certainly pertinent that we should remember to wash our hands, particularly if we are off to see the Seven Wonders. During these Covid times ‘food trucks’ have proliferated on our streets, and in the country. The one below is a fine, shining example – and offers ‘cures’ as well as cocktails, while the lower coffee stop must be situated in one of the finest viewpoints on the Beara Peninsula.

Always time for a chat in Ireland! And – a reminder that Christmas is nearly upon us . . .

Everywhere we go, there’s a double-take to be taken. In the city, I felt that there was something a bit pagan in this outfitter’s window . . .

The hairy lady artist, above, topically reminds us to wear our masks. Personally, I welcome the colours on the streets: hopefully we can always have cheerful moments in troubled times.

Getting the official message across always has to be done in both languages here in Ireland. I have to admit that, in this case, the Irish version seems something of a mouthful! A few more images to finish off this little exploration: they speak for themselves . . .

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!

Time for Signs

It’s a few months since I took a selection from my ever increasing files of Irish Signs. If you want to see some of the older posts in this series, click here. Otherwise, I’m going to stand back and let the images speak for themselves: there are curiosities and humour: unexpected juxtapositions – and some that might leave you with question marks . . . I hope you will enjoy them all.

Signs of Spring

A curious advertising sign from a disused bicycle shop. Perhaps the ‘springing’ lion is sufficient to justify the title of today’s post . . . It’s been a good few months since I last sampled my ever-growing collection of Irish signs and curiosities. I cannot say why, but these latest examples – and all the previous ones – amused me or attracted me when I saw them, sufficiently enough to put them on record. The humour of some of them is profoundly Irish – but also universal – whereas the ‘curiosities’ are examples of the love of colour, or just eccentricity. Anyway, that’s quite enough commentary from me: the images will, hopefully, speak for themselves.


I think the ‘Floating walkway’ must be a unique sign – purpose-made just for that one location, on the dunes at Barley Cove, here in West Cork. When the tide is in, walking across can be a seasickness-inducing business: you have been warned!

Michael ‘Tea’ Higgins here – Ireland’s President. Honoured, I’m sure, to be thus celebrated as a part of his nation’s tea-drinking ceremonies.

Partly obliterated signs can be intriguing. With some, the intention is easy to guess – with others, one can only contemplate . . .

I couldn’t resist these pics showing Ireland in its best colours. However, if you want to see a lot more of that, have a look at Finola’s posts here.

I could go on . . . but I don’t want to send you to sleep! That’s quite enough for now – look out for more in the future.