So, what exactly is the penalty for trespass if you are prosecuted ? Or are these signs just a glorified version of 'stay out' and you'll be asked to leave if you are discovered on the property?
Simple trespass is not an offence. You can't be prosecuted for it. The signs that say you will be are, basically, lying.
Trespass combined with other factors can be an offence - for example, it's an offence to trespass in a way that is likely to cause fear in another person - and if any of those factors are present you can be prosecuted. Otherwise the landowner's only court option is to sue you in the civil courts for damages (for which he will need to show that he has suffered damage) and, if your trespass is ongoing, for an order for ejectment, to get you out.
Call me old fashioned but if I wake and find somebody in my back garden who has not been invited to be there... I’m calling the Gardai
I think your redress is to sue for any damage done. Otherwise you can merely ask them to leave.
Trespass on Railways and possibly other places is against the Law I believe.
So randomers could plonk themselves in someones front garden on a sunny day & the owner can't do anything as it's not trespass & they're not causing a threat? Am I reading this right?
In the broadest sense, yes.
If the interlopers are causing a disturbance to you, putting you at unease or denying you the right to peaceful enjoyment of your property (assuming they're not causing any damage), then you could bring a civil trespass case against them. Civil trespass is usually reserved for long-running disputes though, not single incidences of someone on your land.
Realistically if you contact the Gardai they can instruct the person to move on in the interests of public order. If they refuse to do so the Garda can then arrest them for a public order offence.
Well it's not clear why anyone would want to plonk themselves on someone else's property and even if they did most people would likely assume it was an offense and move on if asked by the owner. The case I was considering is where it is not obvious that the property is private. eg if you go hiking up two rock you can start on the northern side from the Coillte entry on Ticknock road and hike all the way to the cairn on the summit of Two Rock. You can then go wandering down the southern side but what I hadn't realized until I saw a map recently is that apparently the Coillte lands end right at the cairn so if you go beyond it and start walking down the southern slope you are, apparently, on someone else's property but other than looking at a land registry map you would have no way of knowing it; there is no fence, sign, or anything. So it seems I have been unwittingly 'trespassing' on numerous occasions over the years, so naturally I was interested to know if it is actually an offense. If you approach the same mountain from the southern side all the entrances I could find from public roads had signs saying 'No access, trespassers will be prosecuted' or something similar. I was quite surprised to learn that someone could own a mountain or part of one, I would have expected that once it got beyond a certain altitude/slope it was public land.
Farmers get very uppity about this sort of stuff.
There's no Right to Roam in Ireland, unlike the UK, but there's nothing a farmer can do except tell you to leave.
The Gardai will only come if you refuse to leave and become a nuisance, but then the Gardai will just tell you to leave too.
My rule of thumb gets rid of any confusion...if I don't own it then somebody else does and I shouldn't be there unless invited or given expressed permission.
Though offhand from what I remember from case of Collins v Renison (1754) self-help in terms of offering any force beyond the bare minimum to eject them is deem unreasonable. Also in Britain they allow in limited circumstances trespass to be a criminal act as well as a tort.
House near me many years ago had the best twist on this:
"Beware of dog. Survivors will be prosecuted"
---spas--- will be -----cut-- as seen on the Mill Road in Corbally, Limerick.
Chasing someone for trespassing on unfenced land is unlikely to get you far.
All land in Ireland is owned by somebody, even if in some cases "somebody" is the state or a state agency. Even if land is in state ownership taht doesn't necessarily mean that you have a right to enter it.
If you inadvertently trespass on somebody's lad by crossing an unmarked boundary, the fact that the boundary is unmarked tells you that the owner is not that bothered about trespassers, so the chances of any action being taken against you are low. Trespass generally isn't a problem on wilderness land, because there is no risk of harm resulting from gates left open, fences damaged, and the like, so owners are mostly unbothered.
That's unreal so I could head into a fancy house and hang out at their pool when they're away and worst thing that could happen is I'll be told to leave! You know all those lovely houses you see on Daft in Dalky you always want to use the garden or play in their tennis court.
I wish I had the neck!
If you have a dog there's a chance it'll get lead poisoning if you don't keep it on it's lead if you are on someone's land.
If there's livestock on the land that needs protection from dogs, the land is hardly going to be unfenced, is it?
First rule of keeping livestock; secure your boundaries.
There are thousands of acres of unenclosed commonage in the country. More common in the west I imagine.
There would be uproar if the landowners decided to close it all off.
Fair enough, yeah.
It's unenclosed because there is no need to close it off - the costs of doing so would outweigh any benefit. Most of this is fairly marginal land, and doesn't support much in the way of livestock. Sometimes you come across the remnants of fences that made sense in the past when the land was more intensively farmed, but have since been allowed to decay.
But, yeah, much of it is grazed by sheep, and not just in the West - it's common in Wicklow. So you shouldn't take your dog onto it or, if you must, then you have to keep it restrained.
The practical risk of your dog being shot for worrying sheep, though, is not high, if only because, in the nature of upland grazing, the animals are unattended most of the time. Odds are that there'll be nobody on hand to shoot your dog.
With good reason. Do you see the state people leave places after them on their 'wild' camping expeditions? Setting fires, leaving rubbish, breaking gates and fences.
Ramblers with dogs when faced with signs reading NO DOGS, ah shur my liddle schnookums wouldn't harm a fly. Signs with 'All dogs on leads' are heartily ignored.
In scandi countries there is a right to roam, but of course they behave themselves unlike the shower here.
They aren't fenced but the sheep aren't unattended. The farmers have to look after the animals so while you won't see them walking the hills they'll be around and won't be shy about shooting animals which can kill their products, the dog doesn't even need to be that close to sheep to induce panic which can lead to still births.
Sure. I'm not disputing the rights of farmers to shoot uncontrolled dogs, or criticising those who do.
It's just that I've done a fair amount of walking in upland grazing areas in Wicklow, Down, Kerry and other parts of the country. I've seen a lot of sheep, but not so many attending farmers. I'm not suggesting that farmers are neglecting their livestock, but checking on them from time to time is not the same things as being in constant attendance.
Mind you, I never brought a dog up, and I saw very few dogs being brought up by anyone else. Perhaps if their had been more dogs around shotgun-bearing farmers would have appeared from out of the peat hags and behind the furze bushes.
The days of a shepherd sitting minding sheep for days on end are long gone, the stuff of storybooks now.
If you're around one of the more popular spots around Killarney you see heaps of people wilfully ignoring no dogs/no dogs off leads signs. Someone even went so far as to vandalise the National Park signs by erasing the lead on the dog-and-lead symbol to make a point.
Fwiw the trail up Mangerton is only publicly open at the behest of landowners and in theory could be withdrawn at any time.
I realise there are many places in the countryside that seem to be wilderness but are actually owned by farmers or the state etc but didn't realise private gardens without walls or hedges are the same, eg Bayside estate in Dublin is one example where most of the front gardens in that estate are open, so theoretically anyone could sit in those front gardens and have a picnic, sunbathe etc and they wouldn't be trespassing. I'd say a lot of people would be as surprised as myself to hear that.
The would certainly be be trespassing but it might be a civil rather than a criminal trespass. The owner is entitled to ask the trespasser to move and to use reasonable force to move them if they fail to do so. The owner can also call the guards who may attend if there is a potential breach of the peace.
There's no general right to enter unfenced land.
The point about land being unfenced is that it indicates that the landowner isn't unduly bothered about the risk of livestock straying, or about the possibility of people entering - if he weres, he'd fence it. So you might that that, if you do enter that land, no-one is likely to object. But this doesn't mean that you have a right to enter, or that if you do enter you are not trespassing or can't be asked to leave.