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Road signs and Irish Language



  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 7,635 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Jim2007

    I'd speculate the more countries in Europe use two or more languages on their signage, I'm sure you'll manage.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,479 ✭✭✭✭ whisky_galore

    You'll never get one due to vested interests and language politics grounded in emotional attachment.

    This country is filled with people positively disposed to a language they don't want to die out but at the same time need other people to do the work of speaking it for them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25 EthanL13

    Plenty of European countries use bilingual signs. Examples include Italy (Slovenian, German and Friuli), France (Breton and Basque), Finland (Swedish and Sami), Spain (Catalan, Basque, Galician and Asturian) & Belgium (French & Flemish). Others include Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania, though generally they're limited to city signs only.

    (Edit: Removed ex-Yugoslavian example. Serbian is written in both Cyrillic and Latin, so signs there aren't bilingual)

    France (Breton)

    Italy (German, Slovenian and Friuli)


    Post edited by EthanL13 on

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Here's an example of a bilingual sign in British Columbia, namely English and Tsilhqot'in, a First Nations language.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,258 ✭✭✭✭ Cookiemunster

    I confused about the argument here. Is it we don't need single language signs as other countries have dual language signs (so shouldn't the Geatacht?) or is it single language signs are fine (so why not have them all over the country?) ? Ye Geailgeoir lads need to decide what ye're trying to argue because ye seem to be talking out both side of ye're mouths depending who ye're arguing with.

    And BTW calling people ye disagree with trolls and then congratulating each other on 'winning' the argument is not a good look.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,501 ✭✭✭ malinheader

    Only my view but if it came to a decision between signs in Irish or English I would100 % want the signs in the Irish language.

    But saying this I am happy with the way they are at the moment.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Here's a trilingual stop sign from Quebec. The street signs are in English and Cree.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,216 ✭✭✭✭ Strumms

    Fine, you can speculate away :) they are plenty that do not, a cursory look shows me plenty of countries have signage in one language, the language the majority of the population speak, my view is a sign should only incorporate necessary information so as to be more easily readable at speed, in other words, decluttering them from superfluous info...

    there are no Irish speakers here who don’t speak English I’d bet, but the majority of English speakers don’t speak Irish... so just have the signs, decluttered, in the language everyone understands, nice big font so the signs are easily readable at speed and from distances...

  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭ KrisW1001

    I’m of the same opinion to be honest. I don’t see any problem with having both, but if it came down to a one-or-the-other decision, the Irish names have to stay, as they are the original source for almost all of the “English” ones. There are, of course, exceptions to this for towns created by the Vikings or the English (all the Norman-founded towns seem to have Irish names), which would be a pain to unpick, and then you’ve got something like “Dublin”, which is the English transliteration of the Norman French transliteration of the Norse transliteration of an Irish name.

    My main gripe is that the way it’s done now is not particularly functional or pretty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,501 ✭✭✭ malinheader

    Honestly I find no bother in understanding or reading them in their present format. I do a good bit of travelling around the country and find the signs ok.

    Only my own opinion though on this

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'm a fan of the simplicity of road signs in Lebanon. The font is simple and clean and everything fits in proportion to the full sign.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I find the signs very, very easy to follow and read. I have never found modern Irish signs in any way hard read at speed and they’ve improved massively in recent decades.

    My major complaint here is about smaller road signs on R roads, which often seem to be placed randomly before or at a junction, depending on the local authority. I’ve missed turns due to that. It’s nothing to do with the text but the inconsistency in the where some councils place them.

    The finger post signage is also quaint but poor. You still have those signs that can be turned by local pranksters or hit by high sided vehicles and turned.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Registered Users Posts: 25 EthanL13

    @KrisW1001 You're right, it's not very clear at all which is why I placed it next to Naas. Maybe a separate sign like this could emphasise this better?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Visually the sign above would totally confuse me. All I see is R406 and the limit, while lorry drivers are usually professional and maybe familiar with the red circle meaning something is forbidden when its used in other countries, the red circle signage in Ireland causes major confusion. You might have that interpreted as 5 ton lorries should only drive on the R406 to Straffan.

    The Irish sign has a circle with a red strike out line too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25 EthanL13

    Well this brings on another discussion about our other signs. Since we are not part of the Vienna Convention, our signs do not follow many of the practices that other European countries follow. One example is the use of a diagonal line across a sign meaning prohibition, whereas in other countries no such line is used (with the exception of no-left- and no-right-turn signs and a few others).

    Anyway, Ireland does not use a diagonal line on this sign.

    Seeing the limit and the route number is the main take away from the sign - maximum weight of 5 tonnes on the R406.

  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭ KrisW1001

    There’s no diagonal on that sign because it is a limit, not a prohibition.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,025 ✭✭✭ Furze99

    Perfectly good and clear - easily read and understood. A model for us.

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 224 ✭✭ SeamusAFA

    On the ferry symbols

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 224 ✭✭ SeamusAFA

    You have completely changed the sign here.

    The black and white signs means 5t trucks should go this way.

    If you want to change it to warn of the prohibit you should use a yellow diamond sign.

    P.S. you can't actually use 5t

    3.5t, 7.5t, 10t, 12.5t, 18t, 26t, and 32t and numbers allowed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.

    The Fianna Fail OLA from the 2000s is a mess, its revision at some future date is inevitable.

    English is treated as a subordinate language, which is problematic in a country that overwhelmingly speaks it. Putting ideology before all practical concerns is problematic, especially when it comes to road safety.

    Post edited by D.L.R. on

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  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 224 ✭✭ SeamusAFA

    Neither Irish or English can be displayed more prominently.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.

    Not correct. Irish must be "at least" as prominent as English. Key phrase "at least".

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 224 ✭✭ SeamusAFA


    As far as I know that is not in Traffic Signs Manual, TSM specifies that both alphabets are the same height.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.

    Talking about the OLA, but it doesn't cover roads.

  • Registered Users Posts: 302 ✭✭ Piollaire

    We're stuck with the roadsigns we have for the foreseeable future as a proposed amendment to the official languages act to give Irish equal prominence on roadsigns was rejected.

    (In Irish)

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,557 ✭✭✭✭ gormdubhgorm

    Layout of those signs in the OP is awful - language not the issue just the design of them - font/colouring etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.

    The lighter shade of green used in the Republic doesn't help. It reduces legibility.

    Not sure why this lighter shade was adopted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭ KrisW1001

    Our signs are not lighter, just newer. The difference in brightness is down to the modern sign materials being more reflective, and also to a change in standards over the decades. UK signage seems darker because there’s a lot more old signs in the UK than in Ireland, and those are a lot darker (especially at night). Any new green road signs in the UK are just as bright as the ones we have here. The new, brighter, material is proven to be more legible than previous; that’s why it’s used.

    There is a difference in the exact hue used, and the UK signage is usually a shade of green that’s more towards yellow on the spectrum than blue than ours, but you can also see the blue-green ones in the UK from time to time, and yellow-green ones here. It’s down to who supplies the materials, really: the shade of green is not specified as a fixed point; the colour only has to lie within a certain range of shades of green, and once a material is within that, it’s good to use.

    Much of the UK’s signage was installed long before the latest standard was developed, while a lot of Ireland’s was made to that standard. Newer signs in the UK tend to be of the different, bluer, green too, although the A6 in Northern Ireland has some remarkably leaf-green signage (If I were cynical, I guess that could be NIRS making a point - ours are blue, so theirs must be yellow; they are, after all, the same people who seemed to think the A5 ended at a brick wall just south of Aughnacloy, but in truth it’s probably down to the green pigments used whoever they bought them from)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,750 ✭✭✭ wassie

    Seems this issue has been around at least since 2013 according to this Irish Times article....

    ...And looks like it didn't go any where looking at the latest pic on Googlemaps.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭ KrisW1001

    I note that they couldn’t resist a full redesign in their mock-up. Changing everything about the current design was an excellent way of hiding the change they actually wanted from the casual observer.