“Never mind the countryside. I still get lost in Dublin,” said Irish Times columnist Kevin Myers, a road-sign crusader who argues that the Irish have never understood the functional point of signs.
“You’ve got extraordinarily misleading signs and signs that tell outright lies, and most of these are new,” he said. “Dublin Corporation is putting up signs at the moment that are designed to baffle anyone from outside Ireland.”
“They refer to Dublin as ‘an Lar,’ which is Gaelic for the city centre — and it’s a term that nobody uses because we all speak English here,” Mr. Myers said. “Everybody in Europe would understand the word ‘centre,’ so naturally we can’t use that. The powers that be are intent on putting up signs in a dead language for pseudo-cultural purposes and doing nothing to help visitors.”
Incidentally, if anyone is as curious about the word lár ‘center’ as I was (I would have expected *cédar if they had borrowed Latin centrum), it originally meant ‘floor,’ and is in fact cognate with the English word; the transitional meaning is ‘middle (of a hall).’