At a first glance, the following appears to be just like any other typical Irish rural road junction:
Well, that is until I crop the picture - Read the signs:
This is a junction I pass on my way to work and that 'STAD' sign has been completely changed at least four times that I recall.
This use to be a 4-way road junction up until recently. A few years before that, the sign as a triangle 'YIELD' sign. The two signs shown leading up to it were not there at the time.
That 'YIELD' sign was then replaced with a stop sign that did say 'STOP' on it.
A new road was laid next to the existing junction and once it was opened up, the original junction was removed and the original road coming into it on the other side joined a little further up the main road, i.e. another 'T' junction.
Instead of moving the stop sign, a new 'STÃD' sign was put in place, along with the 'PREPARE TO STOP' and 'NEW ROAD LAYOUT AHEAD' signs. Notice the accent on the 'Ã' here, like in my name.
Well, that accent should not have been there, as 'Stad' (not 'StÃ¡d') is the Irish for 'Stop'. So the council replaced the road sign with the proper spelling.
So, does everyone obey the 'Stad' sign? Well, apparently not!
A few months ago while driving past this junction, I noticed the sign was missing and the two bars leading up were bent. Yes, someone actually ran right into it, launching the 'STAD' part into someone's lawn nearby.
So what did the council do? Well, the picture above is how the junction currently is - They just put another 'Stad' sign in its place.
Apparently, the reason they use a 'STAD' sign at this junction is that this region is in what is known as a 'Gaeltacht' (Irish speaking area), so place names and some road signs are written in Irish only. In the white signs on the right, 'Killybegs' is outside the 'Gaeltacht' zone, so it is written in English and Irish, where as the other two villages (the Irish for Kilcar and Carrick) are written in Irish only.
As for Satnavs, some rural place names are also written in Irish only (also varies between GPS map providers) and we currently do have post codes in Ireland, so it's quite a challenge finding places in rural areas. I even got lost looking for Dungloe when my Satnav battery ran out unexpectedly (charger didn't fit my lighter socket). When I asked for directions, I found out why - It's in a Gaeltacht area and thus the road signs leading to it said "An ClochÃ¡n Liath", which doesn't sound anything like Dungloe! :doh: