No this not a command to go to the Mall. Nor is it a shout of support for the local Hurling team named Mall. Rather, it is a warning and perhaps a philosophy to follow while visiting Ireland.
While driving in Ireland, after awhile, you begin to see the same type of road signs and marking all over Ireland. Their national road sign plan begins to make sense. However, one of the road markings it took awhile to understand was GO MALL. And, after we learned what it meant, we wish we had figured it out sooner. We were slow to understand.
For example, the speed limit signs made no sense. After a week of driving there was no way you can dive 80 or 100 KPH on most of these roads. In fact, it was not until we talked with our host in Kenmare that we learned why. Yep, we were, slow to understand.
In the US, speed limit signs are set as the maxim safe speed to drive on a given stretch of road. We all drive at or about 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. For most of us, 45 mph means you can get away with driving 50 mph and the cops will leave you alone. If you drive over the “cushion” you can’t complain if you get a ticket.
In Ireland, as we were slow to discover, the roads are designated, Local, County or National roads, and each road is designated with a speed limit. A National road may be 100 KPH and a County road may be 40 KPH. It does not matter what stretch of road you are on, the maximum speed is pre-designated for that entire road. It is up to the driver to determine what is “safe” as long as he does not drive over that designated speed limit. I wish I knew that before I hit the pot hole. Once we learned that, we started to drive at speeds that felt much safer and interestingly, we starting enjoying our drives much more. The pressure was off, we were not expected to drive at or near the speed limit as you are in the US, in fact, even the Irish will tell you to Go Mall.
Once we started to Go Mall, we starting enjoying the trip much more. In fact, Go Mall became something of a philosophy. Take it easy, go slow and enjoy the trip. In fact, you can not drive around Ireland without Going Mall.
Tractors on the road everywhere…Go Mall.
Townsfolk walking along the road…Go Mall.
Sheep crossing the road…Go Mall.
Right turn ahead…Go Mall.
Skinny, twisty roads everywhere…Go Mall.
Bicycles strolling along…Go Mall.
So take you time, Go Mall, and enjoy the trip.
(Mall is Gaelic for Slow)