Barking Mad Laws for Irish-Speaking Dogs

November 13, 2007 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Unmuzzled dogs who speak Irish can wander freely in public parks in Dublin. If you visit Griffith park in Drumcondra, you will see the following sign.

Bandog Sign

Rule One says, essentially, that dogs are allowed to wander without leads in the park at certain times, ‘except for bandogs’. But the Irish version, on the same sign, translates the word ‘bandogs’ as ‘dogs that are muzzled’. This raises the following important legal questions: >>>


Bandog English

According to the English rules, bandogs must be kept on a lead, even during the hours that other English-speaking dogs can roam free. But what is a bandog?

  • Technically, a bandog is a breed of mastiff dog.
  • In this context, it might also mean a ‘banned dog’.
  • It might also mean a dog who plays in a band.

So English-speaking bandogs who are banned, and who also play in a band, must be kept on a lead at all times. That much is clear. However, if you are an unmusical bandog, you might be be able to take a legal challenge.

Muzzled Dogs

Bandog Irish

According to the Irish rules, muzzled dogs must be kept on a lead, even during the hours that other Irish-speaking dogs can roam free. However:

  • If a dog is muzzled, how can you tell whether it speaks Irish or English?
  • If you take the muzzle off a muzzled dog, leaving it unmuzzled, can it roam free?
  • How fluent in Irish must a dog be to avail of the Irish version of the rule?

Bilingual Dogs

And things get more complicated with bilingual dogs.

  • If a bilingual bandog is caught in the park without a lead, can he claim to be an unmuzzled Irish-speaking dog?
  • How would he communicate this if he is accosted by a Park Attendant who only speaks English?

Golfing Dogs

Bandog Other

Finally, here is another important legal question.

  • The first rule on the sign begins by addressing dogs: Dogs allowed, etc…
  • The rest of the rules are in passive voice: No littering, no alcohol, no cycling, no driving, no golf, etc.
  • It is therefore reasonable to assume that all of the rules are addressed to dogs.

So, presumably, humans can do whatever they like in Griffith Park. Including putting up barking mad signs.


Entry filed under: Culture, Fun, Ireland.

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.


November 2007
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Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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