Saturday, 19 December 2009

Driving in Ireland. R755 - the Green Hell

I went for a spin again the other day towards the Sally Gap and yonder without using the M50, due to an aversion to handing money over to National Toll Roads. I could have just avoided it by cutting around the back of Clonsilla, but decided to see how people managed pre-M50, going via Leixlip, Celbridge, Newcastle and Saggart.

I’m always amazed by the traffic in these commuter towns, and even more amazed that no effort has been made in improving the local roads for the increased population who need their cars to get about.

We’re not talking six-lane dual carriageways here, but simply for the authorities to make the roads safer. For instance, I encountered three busy, narrow bridges with room for only one car in either direction. Head-on collision, anyone? It might have been fine when we went about on donkeys and carts, or when traffic was light - but not now.

Why, oh why, can’t the local councils or the NRA simply knock down these death traps and replace them with nice, wide, shiny bridges where people don’t have to take their lives in their hands? It would be easy, and would “save lives”. Heritage is the reason, I imagine - “It was on this bridge that Cuchulainn stopped for a pee on his way to fight the Brits at Cooley”, or some such nonsense. Or “It was on this bridge that Gombeen Man had a head-on with an SUV, bad cess to him”.

Then you have the R755 from Laragh to Rathdrum, through the Vale of Clara. Now that is a road on which you need to have all your wits about you. It's very beautiful, granted, but if you spend too long looking at the scenery you'll find yourself in it. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere. The Nordschleife – the German racing circuit known as the Green Hell - is in the ha’penny place by comparison.

You’ll be driving along, minding your own business, and suddenly find yourself in mid-air over the crest of a hill, right on a bend, noting that the road has suddenly shifted twenty feet to your right. And you are heading straight for a tree where the road once was – with not a barrier in sight.

I kid you not. I am sure this has actually happened to people. In fact it’s impossible to imagine it hasn’t. Just go out that way and see for yourself - but be careful, if you don’t want to get too intimate with the green stuff.

Take the M50 though. You might get ripped off crossing the toll bridge, but at least you won't get killed.

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Anonymous said...

seasons greetings GM and very best wishes to you and all at the MANOR thanks for the blog and the laughs in 09 great crack off to the gaeltach i suppose to soak up the culture over x mass lucky you BEST REGARDS FROM BEVERLY HILLS OOH BTW PARIS confided in me she has the hots for BIFFO makes you wonder doesnt it

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks Mr BH. That's right - total immersion in the Gaeltacht for me, and the more miserable the better... alleviated only by copious quantities of poteen.

You know, I always thought that Paris Hilton was a bit odd - this bombshell is proof. Maybe she saw that pic of our Brian sitting on the jacks?

Thanks for reading the blog, all the best to you and yours for Xmas and the new year.