Thursday, 25 October 2012

Irish Rail announcements and the Brussels experience

Between one thing and another, I've had reason to spend a lot of time in Brussels over the past three-and-a-half months.  I doubt  I will be back again, as it happens.

But being here has given me time to see how a genuine city - as opposed to an overblown village like Dublin, surrounded by a vast swathe of housing estates - should be.

Brussels is relatively clean, has a good transport system (see pic above, with metro trains arriving every four-or-so minutes).

It is also interesting to observe a truly bi-lingual city/country. Belgium - composed of two mutually distrustful linguistic groups, the Flems and the Walloons - came about because... you can wiki it if you are really interested...  I can't be arsed.

Anyway. Belgium's bi-lingualism is very real (it is officially tri-lingual, including the German-speaking bits to the east). Ireland's official bi-lingualism, as opposed to its true bi-lingual communities who speak our English along with Polish, Latvian, Cantonese or otherwise, is a State-sponsored sham by contrast.

 Funny then, when you are on a metro train in Brussels, one thing that is immediately noticeable is the unobtrusive nature of the recorded announcements. "Vandervelde", "Josephine Charlotte" and so on. Just enough information to let visually impaired people who step on the train know where they are going, or what station is coming up next.

 In Ireland, an officially faux bi-lingual country, people are subjected to whole tracts of Gaeilge-only announcements on our commuter trains – the DART crowd would never stand for it, despite the sizeable Gaelscoil-for-educational-advantage supporting minority amongst them.

 On the Maynooth line, it is possible to step on a commandeered intercity carriage and have a Gaeilge-only announcement tell you where you are going. It is quite funny to watch the consternation of tourists who must disembark at Broombridge Station, having listened to a welter of gobbledygook since they left Connolly, only to realise that they are heading west instead of north. Welcome to Ireland. And watch out for the muggers. Next train back to Connolly - sorry, "Stáisiún Uí Chonghaile" -  in an hour or so.

There was some controversy about the inadequate nature of the announcements on Irish Rail trains there a while back. Apparently they are inaccurate much of the time, but little was said about the intrusion of Official Ireland Gaelic and its contribution to the confusion.

If you ever take the 18.10 train from Connolly to Maynooth you will find the announcements are in a language most of us do not understand. Due to the incompetence/indifference of CIE personnel the Gaelic announcements on the inter-city trains have not been abridged to take account of the shorter journey times between stations of a commuter train.

 So we get interminable announcements – Gaelic first of course, thanks to the obnoxious heap of shite that is Eamon O’Cuiv and the whole parliament of genuflecting gobshites who could not stand up to him – which do not allow the vernacular to get a word in.

But this is Ireland.

If you are visually impaired, best make sure you are a Gaelic hobbyist before travelling on the Maynooth line with Ionars...Iarnord...Inroaad... Irish Rail.

Otherwise, make sure you have nothing in your pockets when you disembark at Broombridge.

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anna said...

An acquaintance, aged 50 is a gaelgoir ( as she just happened to go to a well known Dublin Irish secondary school- she is not a fanatic , but IS fluent). Wears hippy skirts and has dark hair – Could pass for Romanian. She was speaking to her daughter in Irish on Dublin bus and 2 local skangers overheard them ,’ Go on off back to your OWN country’ they jeered.
She’s intelligent, articulate , works for an Arts body- and her parent Must have sent a few quid on the kind of secondary education she got- the irony of it- to be sneered at by 2 skangers who no doubt can hardly read. NOW I know these skangers are our Own Guaranteed Irish product- but is there anyplace we could Send them back To, under some pretext? Some windswept part of Brittany or deserted part of Spain?any place?

DB said...

More on Irish Rail announcments here

P Bomb said...

Ah anna - not brittany, i'm plaanning a visit there in a few monnths. tell u what tho there arent too many peoplle living out in maralinnga where they tested the a bomb back in the 50's inthe outback here in aus. a few busloads would be a good start. pb

illuminati 1111 said...

Dublin as an overblown village thats a class summary. Someone asked me recently would I consider working in Dublin ,I said probably not would rather move to London. You could probaly re establish a career in London as there are more opportunities. Dublin seems to be on a downward spiral like the rest of the country. There is no money left for inward investment after they pay everyone.

The Gombeen Man said...

Been in that situation myself illuminati - spent 9 years in London straddling the 80s and 90s.

Not much happening here in Dublin, I think... and as you say, I can only see the place going downhill even more.

DC3 said...

If you want a lesson in how NOT to design a city just look at Dublin. Add 20 Skangers per sq meter - at least - and you are guaranteed a BAD day.

Jim Spriggs said...

I was on a weekend break to Glasgow the other week, so much derided as a scummy city. Having traversed a goodly part of the it, I do not remember encountering a single junkie, scanger, alkie or, as the Scots call them, jakey.
Fast forward to the Monday after the Sunday I got back;my place of work is on Middle Abbey Street, and the whole area, including O'Connell Street, Marlborough Street, was, as usual, heaving with the lowest of life from early morning. Nobody cares, nobody does anything.
Regarding the Irish announcements, I travel the Maynooth line and am sick to death of hearing these pointless announcements. Who can they be aimed at?

The Gombeen Man said...

@ DC3 . You're never more than a few feet away from scumbag in Dublin, regardless of where you are.

@ Jim Spriggs. The 6.10pm from Connolly is the worst... it is always one of the new intercity type trains totally unsuited to commuter work, with announcements that go on forever. Fine if You leave Sligo and your next stop is Longford. Not so much if you get on at Connolly and your next stop is Drumcondra. They just don't care, that's the trouble.

RoyMcC said...

Did Broombridge ever win the Station of the Year award that we all voted for a year or so back? No better choice.

The Gombeen Man said...

Ah... the lovely Broombridge, Roy.

The Gombeen Man said...

Once again, I must apologise to readers for removing comments accidentally due to spam filtering.

This is a design fault with the Blogger platform, as it is so easy to do. Furthermore, once they are removed they cannot be recovered.

I have looked at ways to prevent this and will try to ensure it does not happen again.

Apologies to posters again, and please don't be put off!

Please feel free to repost.