For the next two weeks An Garda Siochana in association with the drivers of Dublin are putting on free entertainment around College Green. Yesterday I grabbed myself a coffee and went down to have a look at the opening day.
16:59 (College Street) A minute away from kick off and no sign of An Garda Siochana at the junction of Pearse Street and Tara Street. Great big sign tells traffic to divert. The big question is, will they?
17:03 Ah! There they are. Two Gardai- one at The Irish Yeast company, and the second a little further on just in front of the traffic island. Both are directing traffic to their left up towards Westmoreland Street. Remarkably few cars.
17:05 Garda number 2 is delighted with himself when an RTE cameraman asks to film him in action. He’s no T.J. Hooker but he does a fine job.
17:06 Man in a blue Lexus stops to ask what’s going on as a helicopter hovers overhead. I wonder if the day U2 are playing to 80,000 people is the day to roll this out but it seems fine so far.
17:09 A third Garda strolls over to ask something and goes away. Two skinny lattes are on their way perhaps.
17:14 (Dame Street) This poor fella got the short straw by the looks of it. He’s charged with telling traffic to U-turn just in front of the Bank of Ireland, College Green. Nightmare. He looks very serious. No messing with this tulip.
17:16 Man in a white lorry is told to shift in no uncertain terms, curses, then blows a taxi-driver out of it as he swings into the road going the other way. A bit dangerous. It’s quite warm.
17:17 Garda takes his eye off the ball for a second as a leggy dark foreigner embraces her friend right in front of him. Can’t say I blame him.
17:19 Man in a red lorry, dressed like a camper van driver, holds up a piece of paper-no joy. Is forced to do a U-e. Viking Splash tours let out there customary roar as they pass Trinity. Doesn’t help the tension.
17:22 An irritated rich kid in a silver BMW demonds an explonation roight. The garda’s hands say it all. Stop-a-nnoy-ing-me. Turn your car and get on your way
17:25-17:35 In this 10 minute spell I count 45 cars that are made to turn.
17:25 Woman who looks like she’s on her way either to or from an audition for the latest Tango ad pleads with the Gard to let her through. No dice.
17:28 Here’s trouble- an ambulance. No it’s OK. Going the other way. Close one.
17:30 Action, action, action. A yellow sports car uses a van as cover, blindsides the Garda and slips through. The Gard sees it and pursues. Should he stay? Should he go? Maybe others will do the same and then there will be chaos. He stops her, admonishes her but lets her continue. A red Ford Fiesta carrying two rotund young ones gets the brunt of his ire. He points vigorously at the sign and angrily gestures them to turn the car. They gesture him back but they turn quickly enough. Girl in the passenger seat calls him something unprintable. Tempers are frayed a smidgen.
17:35 A colleague approaches him and asks if he’s OK. The poor chap gives a wry smile. The new Garda pitches in with one or two fairly flamboyant waves (perhaps he’s Italian) and strolls off again.
17:36 Hot stuff in a fancy silver Merc tries her luck. Not even Angelina Jolie would get past this guy. He’s good.
17:38 The taxi-drivers are loving it all. A grey haired man sits calmly under the statue of Henry Grattan and watches proceedings. Grattan would have made a fine traffic warden by the looks of this exuberant statue.
17:45(Back at College Street) Black Bmer slips through. Government official perhaps?
17:50 Not nearly as busy or as much hassle over this side. Notifacation into College Street is good. Motorcyclist points out to Garda the Silver Ford that has just passed them both by on the wrong side. Garda shrugs.
17:57 (College Green) Substitution back at College Green. The older and slightly grumpier fella is replaced by a younger chubbier chap.
17:58 Nearby, charity fundraisers do there bit to divert pedestrians.
17:59 A trickle of rain? This could be interesting but I ain’t going to stick around. No crashes, no incidents. Worth all the hassle? Not sure.