Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A nice relaxing drive in Meath

As I had the day off work yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to take a bit of time out from the moaning for a few hours and go for a drive, what with the uncharacteristically good weather we’ve been having lately.

As mentioned elsewhere on the blog, Wicklow is normally the favoured destination for a spin – usually over the boggy back of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains by the Sally Gap and onto Laragh. In full fuddy-duddy mode, I made up a flask of coffee and a few sarnies, revved up the engine, and set off for the great outdoors.

Sadly, by the time I got my arse into gear, the morning was long gone and I had to cancel the odyssey across Dublin from the wilds of D15 (in one sense) to the wilds of the Wicklow uplands (in another). No matter! Instead I decided to strike out in the direction of Meath in the posemobile, undeterred by the newly reinstated grey skies.

Problem. There is nowhere to go in Meath where you can pull over, stop your car, and eat your sarnies and drink your coffee, Roy Cropper style (only I’d say Roy is a tea man). Once you get into your car and go to Meath, you must keep driving, non-stop, until you get back home again. And if you follow the signs saying “Boyne Valley Drive” you’ll end up on a busy road much like any other, only worse: keep going and you will end up in Navan... and you don't want that.

In Meath there is nowhere, but nowhere, to stop; with the honourable exception of the N3 carpark (morning and evening) and maybe the Hill of Tara… but you don’t want to go there either, as the place is crawling with druids, wikka witches and crusties, and they will probably set fire to your car (see pic above).

What is it about Ireland? And why, why, oh why do tourists come here? Even in Wicklow, many of the car parks that do exist have been closed, with “anti-social behaviour” cited as an excuse. But in Meath you'll be hard pressed to find one at all.

Well sorry – don’t they have anti-social behaviour in Britain? Don’t they have it in France? Spain? Germany? For Christ’s sake, we have the monopoly on quite a few things in this country, including shysterism, cute-hoorism and gombeenism: but not anti-social behaviour.

In other countries, the authorities take responsibility, and attempt to eradicate the anti-social behaviour, rather than eradicate the car parks. But that’s Ireland, eh? Always the easy way out for those in authority.
So, moral of the story? If you decide to go for a spin in Meath, don’t bother with the flask or the sarnies.

And so much for not moaning on my day off.

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Anonymous said...

If you think layby's are hard to find in Ireland try looking for a public toilet

The Gombeen Man said...

Good point, Anon. I think they call them hedges here.

Lew said...

I thought lay bys were closed/barriered off because of "Travellers" and nothing to do with "anti social behavour"?

It's a shame some of the people in charge of the country doesn't read this as they may actually get a real feel for how people think.

What IS the point of having a nice route to drive when you cant stop to admire it!

Ella said...

Whilst in the hedge there is the possibility of being spotted by an animal of some description, say like a pig. And before you know it you are in court for a public order offence.

Bernd said...

Actually there are a few places to stop, mate ... very few to be precise. The only site with a decent (free) car park would be Loughcrew if memory serves me right. Views are, however, severely limited there.

Stopping at Newtown Trim is haphazard on the roadside, at Bective it is plain dangerous, in Kells they'll charge you for the privilege, same in Trim - unless you head for outlying new estates where enjoying a cuppa and a sarney would get the anti-paedophile-brigade very suspicious very quickly these days.

Tara can, however, be recommended on a crisp winter morning - just before sunrise. Spent the most inspiring two hours there in blessed solitude with amazing views. Had about a ton of sheep-shit on my shoes too.

As to the public toilet thing ... ever found one in Dublin? And I mean "public", not those in shops/pubs ... in lowly Enniskillen there are three largish ones in the "city centre" alone, and they are even kept decently clean!

Don't get me started, don't!

The Gombeen Man said...

True, Bernd. Public toilets are a bit too exotic for here, I think. They used to have them years and years ago, but I think they closed them because they could't be bothered to maintain them.

Might set the sat-nav for Loughcrew next time, so. Cheers for that.

Lew, I think they narrowed the entrances to quite a few to prevent campers, caravans and so on getting in. But some are just closed full-stop! I'm thinking about around the Pine Forest in particular.

Ella, I hope you are not slagging the guardians of law and order there!

Bernd said...

The weird thing, GM ... the public toilets are still there, just closed. Witness College Green and Merrion Square for two prime examples ... though I salute the planners for putting Oscar Wilde's statue next to a hut apparently known for its "cottaging" activities in days of yore. Mere accident?

Anonymous said...

I am temporily living near the wonderful Phoenix Pk, biggest urban pk in europe,....i can only find ONE public toilet, which is locked, the same with StephEn's green, NONE IN IVEAGH GDNS ( MY FAVOURITE PK) ...small public parks in N ireland often have toilets, in fact small villages in N I sometimes have ( unlocked and clean) toilets...why do people here never ask for better facilities? Anna

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes, Anna... it's like people don't seem to notice. As Bernd pointed out, some are still in existence but are closed like the one you mention in the Phoenix Park (live near enough there myself). They just can't be bothered to maintain the facilites, and nobody seems to notice the deficiency. Have they bladders made of kevlar?

Bernd said...

"Have they bladders made of kevlar?"

Nope ... most just do as they would do on an average night out in Dublin ... pee against the nearest opportune thing.