A Thurles repitilian resemblance

Noel Dwyer


Noel Dwyer



Dog fouling

Dog fouling is a scourge across the county

What I saw of course wasn’t a snake at all; in E.U. terms it was “le merde du chien” or known locally as “crap an mhadra.”

Walking down one of the streets in Thurles recently, I came upon a deposit on the footpath the shape of which prompted me to ask myself; ‘is that a Cobra or a Rattlesnake I see before me?’

It was of course neither. Both of these species will strike suddenly and with very little warning except for the “rattler” which will make its presence known audibly. (Unlike the Tipperary hurler with the same nickname, who tended to make his presence felt).

The snakes endeavour to sink their fangs into the flesh of the intruder who invades their territory. Delving into my very limited knowledge on the subject, I would suggest that the majority of snakes prefer to bite into the soft tissue of their victim, apart as far I know from the Boa-Constrictor, which, like myself tends to be more predisposed to a regular squeeze.

The snake-like impostor I encountered however makes no such sudden movement. It is content to lie-in-wait until a hapless victim comes along and steps on it. The underside of footwear is its target area…… What I saw of course wasn’t a snake at all; in E.U. terms it was “le merde du chien” or known locally as “crap an mhadra.”

Now the sensation of stepping on this material is identical to the experience of locking one’s keys in the car; there is millisecond of time-lapse during which you realise you have done it, just before you actually do it. Both happenings usually occasion the same exclamation. … ‘Oh, how foolish of me, I must endeavour to be more alert in future!’ (or, words to that effect;) unlike the snake, it is the person who has stepped on this all too familiar resident on the footpaths of our towns and cities who leaves the area spitting venom while muttering to himself .. “Well upon my sole”

When an unlucky pedestrian steps on “crap an mhadra”, the intensity of his blind rage will be directly linked to whether or not he is wearing flat or cleat-soled shoes. Being clad in the latter will raise blood pressure to very worrying levels, as, to clean the shoe would require the hiring of a power washer.

Another factor which will further exacerbate the mood change of the victim is the availability or otherwise of grass on which he might endeavour to at least partially-clean his fouled foot. Perhaps if a six foot by three foot rectangle were to be dug out of the footpaths all around the streets of the town in which grass could be sown to provide emergency wiping material it would help??

I was amazed to hear of one particular rural dweller who actually brings his dog into town to make his contribution. I also know myself that a certain office at the top of Liberty Square is habitually and “as regular as clockwork” used by a certain dog as his private toilet. I would warn the person who owns this particular dog; that the lady who works in the office although by nature very placid and demure is becoming more annoyed each passing day and might soon be seen at the door of the office, like Lady Macbeth, shouting Out, Out, Damned Spot !

Now everyone will agree that the practice of taking one’s dog for a walk is very laudable in itself, however, it is fine for the dog owner with the leash in his hand, as he is always situated at the non-dispensing-end of the beast and is so used to the results of the unscheduled stop that he has a type of in-built-radar enabling him to avoid the “pit falls” left by other canines which have preceded him around town (A word more appropriate than pit sprung to mind,…but my innate sense of decorum prevailed).