Más fiú é a dhéanamh, is fiú é a dhéanamh i gceart

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

Here’s the road sign of the street where I live now:


The Irish version has an error: it says “Ascaill Bhaile Shealin” instead of “Ascaill Bhaile Sheáin”  (or even better, “Ascaill Bhaile Eoin”).

Here’s the street sign of the road where I grew up:


This one says “Bóthar Bhaile Bhrice” instead of “Bóthar Bhaile Bhríde”.

This kind of mistake, which is extremely common in this area, suggests to me that the people commissioning the signs just don’t care whether they are right or wrong.

These are not “typos” or slips; it’s obvious that the people actually making the signs don’t know any Irish, and are just blindly (and incompetently) copying a meaningless string of letters.

(Though that in itself is hardly an excuse; if it was your job to copy down three words in an unfamiliar language, if that was how you earned your living, would you not double-check to make sure you got it right?)

But the customer, in this case Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown county council, clearly doesn’t see the need for any quality control. They just order the signs, and then whatever random words come back, put them on permanent public display.

It’s not just the Irish version, by the way. Directly across the road from the “Ballybride Road” sign is this road sign, which in a case of equal opportunity illiteracy manages to misspell both the Irish and the English versions of the name.


“Rathmicheal Road” instead of “Rathmichael Road” and “Bóthar Ráth Michíl” instead of “Bóthar Ráth Mhichíl”.

The errors are not entirely random. A pattern I’ve noticed is the phantom “l”. Somewhere along the process of ordering and producing a sign, an “í” gets misinterpreted as an “l” (as in the Johnstown Avenue example above, and the two examples below). This makes me wonder if the wording is sent in the form of a handwritten scrawl rather than typed.


“Bóther Dúnta” instead of “Bóthar Dúnta”; “Deislú Droichid” instead of “Deisiú Droichid”.


“Gairdin Ul Mhaoileon” instead of “Gairdín Uí Mhaoileoin”.

This last one is just bizarre; I am at a loss for how it could have happened. After puzzling it over for a while, I guess the intended translation was “Clár na Duimhche”. But how that got transmuted into “Devche” is mystifying.


This kind of haphazard approach makes a mockery of the policy of official bilingualism. If even the people tasked with maintaining a token presence of the Irish language on street signs can’t be bothered to get it right, is it worth continuing at all?

To me, it is. I love to be reminded of the poetry and history embodied in the local Irish place names as I go about my daily life; Cill Iníon Léinín, Gleann na gCaorach, Baile na Manach alongside Killiney, Glenageary and Monkstown.

But I wish the local authorities would make the small extra effort to get it right. Déan é i gceart nó ná déan é!



When we came back to Ireland, we needed to find a place to live. It turned out not to be as easy as we expected, because there is a shortage of supply in the Dublin rental market at the moment, and so we were competing with a lot of other potential renters for a limited supply of decent rental properties. In one case, the letting agent suggested that we would improve our chances of securing the property by entering into a bidding war, offering a higher rent than the asking price.

We declined.

While we succeeded in finding a place that met our needs, I didn’t have high hopes for it. It didn’t even have a garden, just wooden decking. For the first few days after we moved in, it was hard to think of it as “home”. After weeks of disruption since we left our home in Osaka, it felt like just another temporary place to lay our heads.

But to my surprise, I quickly came to like it. A lot.



Although it’s a relatively small house, its open-plan layout means that it feels comfortably spacious, and the modern design brings in a lot of light. I also like the way you can throw open the doors to the outside, making the decked area feel like an extension of the house in fine weather.

And we have been making the most of it. In the last couple of weeks we’ve been eating outdoors regularly, and had barbecues 5 or 6 times at least.


However, it is only our temporary home, while we search for a house to buy. And that means spending our evenings searching for suitable houses on myhome.ie and our Saturday mornings attending public viewings.