Every now and then there is some kind of sporting event here in Ireland.
I have no problem with that. Provided I don’t have anything to do with it then fine – let them carry on and play their little games.
But there is one aspect that has me stumped. For the life of me I cannot understand the reason, the logic or even the origins of this phenomenon.
I refer to those strange signs you see stuck in the grass verges of motorways or roundabouts proclaiming “UP THE DUBS” or “UP THE BANNER” or some such weirdness.
What is the point? Is this going to determine the outcome of some match or other? And they rarely use county names [and it’s usually around the time of some inter-county thingy]. I won’t say that “Up Dublin” makes any more sense than “Up the Dubs” but at least it is fractionally more sensible.
There seems to be some kind of alternative Ireland when it comes to sport. We have “The Cats”, The Banner”, “The Kingdom” and other strange names that I was definitely never taught in school. I have never found a map which lists these strange counties so I’m at a bit of a loss here, and it makes the signs even less comprehensible.
And what is this “UP” thing? “Up yours” is a fairly common retort here in Ireland but is not quite something you would say to a girl on the first date, so “Up the Cats” presumably has similar connotations? As the signs are frequently placed in their own county, is this some kind of retaliation by the non-sporting fraternity?
I’m also baffled as to why they are placed at the roadside. Are they meant to convert the innocent motorist and turn him into a raving supporter [or anti-supporter, depending on the interpretation]?
There is another common variation which is the “COME ON whatever” version. Are they entreating their team to speed up a little? Or is it more of a “Come on… you must be joking” type of thing?
There is apparently some match or other coming up and is already causing problems with another aspect of this local hysteria – the phenomenon of painting anything stationary [and frequently anything that moves] with the county colours.
I suppose I had better wander off and find out what county I live in?