1. VIPs cause lock down:
Topping the team’s list are two unforgettable state visits:
The historic arrival of Queen Elisabeth II in May which resulted in unprecedented security measures and massive road closures in Dublin, Cork, Tipperary and Kildare. “Never before has Dublin city or indeed Ireland seen such a total lock down.” Reports Carragher “Visits to our website and our number of twitter followers went through the roof that week as we fed vital travel updates to the public.”
President Obama’s visit later the same month also led to major traffic disruptions. “Thousands of extra motorists descended on Dublin and Moneygall at the time and we were hot on the heels of The Beast, keeping motorists up to date on the movements of the President.” Says Carragher.
2. A goose and a cow:
Also among the AA Roadwatch Team’s top picks for 2011 are a number of wackier incidents one of which involved the idle wanderings of a loose goose dubbed Gertie who thought nothing of bringing lanes of traffic to a standstill at the notoriously busy Red Cow Interchange. “Ah yes, Gertie caused quite the flap that day!” Laughs Carragher. “We never did find out where she came from.”
3. Bare faced cheek:
Another event to cause quite the kerfuffle on the roads this year and generate a wave of calls for AA Roadwatch was a Naked Bike Ride which took place through Dublin city centre last July. “Ever the advocates of road safety, our bulletins that day advised drivers to keep their eyes on the road and cyclists to use Vaseline!” Says Carragher.
4. Not so easy on the Mayo!
Also making it into the AA Roadwatch Crew’s most memorable traffic incidents of the year was a mayonnaise spillage at a busy junction in Birr, Co. Offaly back in August. “AA Roadwatch covers all of Ireland so it’s not unusual to hear county Mayo mentioned in a traffic report.” Says Carragher. “However, on the morning of Thursday 18th Aug, we were reporting on a different Mayo. Gallons of the stuff were literally slathered all over road causing treacherous conditions after a truck shed a pallet.”
5. Flash floods dampen spirits:
Taking the final slot in the team’s most stand out traffic incidents of 2011 were the flash floods of October which brought many of the main arteries in and out of the capital to a standstill. “October 24th really stands out as one of the most severe and impactful weather events of 2011, we even had reports of a few canoeists paddling their way down the N3”. Says Carragher “Dublin City Council activated a major emergency plan and as ever Roadwatch was the first port of call for stressed commuters trying to figure out their best plan of action. It was also vital that we communicated to as many drivers as possible, the dos and don’ts of driving in flood water.”
The flash floods also saw a barrage of calls for AA Patrols both during and in the days following the floods. AA Rescue reports that their average daily work load on October 25th in Dublin was 143% higher than the October daily average as a result of varying degrees of water damaged engines.
“The Year of the Protest”:
While not a unique incident, AA Roadwatch share that they unofficially christened 2011, “The Year of the Protest.” “Hardly a week went by without some kind of demonstration disrupting traffic.” Reports Carragher. “The student protest in November which saw thousands marching through Dublin city centre particularly stands out.”
To stay up to date on all 2012 has in store, motorists can get the latest traffic and travel news at www.aaroadwatch.ie, follow @aaroadwatch on Twitter or download the AA App from the Apple App Store.
Miriam O’ Neill, PR Exec at AA Ireland began working in the AA in August 2010. Miriam’s core activities on a day to day basis include management of the AA’s media relations programme, generation of quality coverage in support of key business lines, provision of content for AA social media channels and the AA customer Ezine, regular broadcast interviews, occasional events management and interactions with the large AA customer base on motor policy issues.