I had a little problem the other day.
I may have mentioned before but it is damned difficult to give directions to anywhere from here. Even the simplest directions are going to involve several junctions so any visitor is well advised to have a decent road map, an up to date SatNav or a death wish.
I am frequently accosted by tourists who pull up beside me, all red faced and desperate and looking for directions to Dublin or Rosslare or Powerscourt or Blessington or Ballykissangel. The latter is a favourite and for those who live on foreign shores, it doesn’t exist. It’s just an imaginary name used in a television series many years ago where most of it was filmed in Avoca, which is a real village but impossible to direct people to.
So my solution to the giving of directions thing is simple – I direct them up to the bogs. Just follow this road up the hill says I, you can’t miss it.
Now the bogs are the top of the Wicklow Mountains. They are rolling carpets of heather, gorse and very little else, but they are beautiful in a lonely sort of way. It’s very peaceful up there and the views are spectacular. The only problem with the bogs is that unless you know precisely what you are doing it is very difficult to find your way out of them as they are criss-crossed with little bog roads that meander between turf cuttings and generally end up going nowhere. To make matters worse, clouds and fog can drift in very quickly and visibility can soon become zero.
What about road signs, you ask? We are not very fond of road signs in Ireland. They tend to be few and far between and most have been twiddled around by the local bright sparks so they point in completely the wrong direction anyway. Generally the only accurate signs are the ones that are actually placed within sight of your destination.
So back to my little problem.
I was minding my own business hacking away at a hedge when a car stopped. I played my usual mental game of guessing which impossible destination they required and I was wrong on all counts. They wanted directions to the bogs.
What the fuck was I supposed to do? Sending people to where they wanted to go was not only against my principles but would get me a very bad reputation in the village.
I gave them directions to Ballykissangel.
I’m a quick thinker.