Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wait a Second, Where Am I?

This morning, I drove into Macroom to dispose of our trash and recyclables at the delightfully named Civic Amenity Centre and then to drop Toby at the kennels. Both chores went off without a hitch and on my home, I stopped at our favourite bakery in Macroom to pick up a scone for Peter and a Bavarian pretzel for me.

Macroom has a handsome square in the middle, which probably had some grand purpose once upon a time but is now mostly just a big car park. I had parked there and was returning to my car when I thought I saw a soldier with a big gun guarding the vegetable stand.

I did a double-take. I worked for a month in Belfast back before the cease-fire, so I am not unfamiliar with seeing armed soldiers on the street. But why would the vegetable stand need an armed guard? As I got closer, I could see there were more soldiers lined up along the square and then I spotted the reason for the military presence. A blue cash-in-transit van sat in front of the AIB and it was flanked by two jeeps.

It makes sense, I guess, since cash-in-transit robberies are practically a national sport, but it was still vaguely alarming to see soldiers on patrol in the town square of Macroom.


At 26 July 2007 at 17:34, Blogger Col said...

I take it you are on vacation? Perhaps in celebration of your upcoming birthday? Have a great time, and many happy returns and all that. Try not to think about the actual digits!!!

We're off to Hawaii next week for our big summer vacation. Yep, we're taking the kid.

Happy Birthday!!

At 27 July 2007 at 03:26, Blogger laurie said...

it's disconcerting, isn't it, to see men with guns on the streets of a sleepy town.

is your birthday tomorrow? happy birthday, -ann!

At 28 July 2007 at 13:06, Blogger Kemberlee said...

Greetings from Macroom! The square in Macroom was once where cattle, sheep and other livestock were sold and traded before they moved to the Mart behind the town. Back in the day, the fruit and veg stalls flanked the surrounding area where cars park now. Since the animals were moved out of the town center, the other marketers have taken over the square. Macroom's market has been ongoing for the better part of 800 years! It's not the best in Ireland, but has been around for a long time.

The gardai and Irish Army follow cash vans around in order to keep our money safe. You'll usually see an army vehicle on the road in front of the cash van and another one after. The local gardai will meet them at the bank. I've seen tourists trying to take pictures for their scrap books and get accosted by foot soldiers. Photos are not allowed for security reasons.

I hope you're enjoying living in the area.


At 29 July 2007 at 11:40, Blogger -Ann said...

Col - Just a long weekend. Hawaii - with the kid. Wow, you're both brave. Have a great time.

Laurie - It is disconcerting, which is funny since cops in the states are all armed, whereas the gardai here are not. It's just what you get used to, I guess.

Kemberlee - Thanks for the history lesson. I've never seen the army guarding cash-in-transit in Dublin, nor has Peter (who has been in a bank when a transaction was occuring). Maybe it's something that's just started since we left, but it's still odd to see that happening here but not in Dublin.


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