OK - I've been lazy this week - I had lots of pictures that I prepared at the weekend, and I've posted these over the last few days - a handy way to keep everybody amused, without having to spend too much time writing big long posts. At least I was well organised.
Now I'm a bit tired, but I'll start a rant about the state of Irish roads. Don't get me wrong - a lot of progress has been made in the last 10 years - we now have a motorway from Dublin to Cork, from Dublin to Galway, and nearly from Dublin to Limerick (I think there is a section that needs to be redone because of subsidence through a bog - "Oops we're building a road through a bog - Do you think it's likely to sink? No No, trust me, all will be well. It's sinking? Really? Ah well, we'll rebuild it so"). But that's about it. Roads in Dublin are pretty good, we've got 3 lanes on the M50, we've got the Luas Green Line Extension. But once you go a little further, things are not so good.
As you know we went to Kerry 2 weeks ago - Google Maps had given us an estimate of 4.5 hours from Dublin to Parknasilla (354km). As we got to Michelstown in less than 2 hours (on the new Dublin-Cork motorway), we thought we were going to get there a lot quicker. But the road from Michelstown to Killarney is an absolute disaster - narrow and twisty. If you're stuck behind a slow vehicle - like a caravan, or a little old man driving home from the pub on a Sunday afternoon - forget it, you're not going to be able to overtake them for miles and miles, and you'll be lucky to average 50km/h. The roads from Killarney to Sneem were equally twisty and narrow, but at least they are scenic, and there isn't as much traffic on them. But the Michelstown-Killarney is a complete disgrace in the 21st Century.
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Our government talks about promoting tourism as a major industry in Ireland (now that over 30,000 houses lie unoccupied in ghost estates - the building industry is well and truly dead), but we still don't have a proper road between Dublin and Killarney - the major tourism centre in the country, gateway to the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle peninsula - 2 areas of outstanding beauty.
I just don't get it.
They should stop talking about talks -don't get me started on the whole charade of the heads of the opposition parties meeting the Taoiseach after seeing the numbers from the Department of Finance - and then that's IT??? They agree that it's a tough target to reach the 3% European number by 2014 - I can't even remember what that 3% is - all I know is that it means tough budgets for the next 4 years, but that's the extent of their talks - nobody agrees on how to fix the problem, and the government is just busy commissioning reports and reporting on commissions, but doing nothing. They should start working and DO SOMETHING for a change. Build good roads down the country, train makers of uilleann pipes, build the metro, scrap the government jet, introduce proper expense reporting for TDs, stop sending officials on fact-finding missions around the world (with their wives). I think I've saved about a few millions already, and created hundreds of jobs in one go (sorry to the pilot of the government jet who would be losing his job with my scheme - maybe he can retrain as a uilleann pipe maker - apparently there is a serious shortage).
It's a great little country we live in!
End of rant!
PS: we came back via Cork - the roads were good, but it's quite a detour. It still took us nearly 4 and a half hours to get back.