A Rant About Dublin Maps

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I like to consider myself good with maps.  When I travel with a group I generally take over navigation duties and I actually enjoy studying maps (dork, I know).  There is, however, one thing I've noticed a couple times while here in Ireland that drives me crazy.

For no real rhyme or reason, it seems that map makers here intentionally make maps completely inaccurate.  Tonight, for example, I am going to a concert in Phoenix Park.  Phoenix Park is the largest urban park in Europe and it has all sorts of amazing things in it (but that is besides the point).  It is pretty simple to navigate.  There is essentially one main road that cuts through the middle.  I was curious as to which end the concert would be held.  If it was at the end nearest me I could possibly walk but if it was at the other end it would be just out of reach.  So I look at the concert page and this is the map they give me:
You'll notice the River Liffey in the bottom left and Chesterfield Avenue running Northeast from the River with the Castleknock and Ashtown entrances in the top right corner. Simple, no?  Well, no.  Because that is not at all what the area actually looks like.  

Here you again see the river running along the bottom but magically Chesterfield Ave now runs Northwest from the river with Castleknock and Ashtown in the top left corner.  I understand that the concert map is a very simplified version of the area designed to simply show you where the concert was in relation to bus drop off or parking but who thought it was a good idea to completely reverse the layout of the park?  Who does this help?  It certainly confused me for longer than it should have to just get some basic information.

If this was the first or only time I had seen a strange map like this I wouldn't really worry about it ( I'd still be annoyed but I wouldn't feel the need to take it to the blogging world), however this is NOT the first time I've seen a completely off map during my time here in Ireland.  

Here is the map of UCD's main campus.  This is the little map they hand out to new students and the one that is represented on boards all across campus:
Now, this one is no where near as bad as the Phoenix Park map, but back when I was living on campus this drove me crazy.  As you can see everything is nicely laid out here.   Down in the bottom left corner you can see the compass pointing up saying North. Above the campus you can see a road which is the N11.  You would infer that the N11, therefore, runs East to West. But HA!  You're wrong!  
As Google maps rightly shows us... the N11 runs North to South as the does the campus compared to its East/West orientation on the UCD provided map.  I understand that it is probably easier to look at the map oriented from left to right but don't tell me which way is North if it's a complete lie!  

I was about to say that maybe I'm the only person in Ireland that still orients myself in relation to the sun but then I remembered that there is no sun in Ireland.... all these terrible maps are making much more sense now.


  1. I would hate to see what would happen to me in Ireland if those are the maps I would have to deal with. I'm so terrible at directions, I give a bad name to directionally challenged. I'm the reason GPS was invented, and I still get lost with it!

  2. If you got lost using these maps at least no one would blame you!

  3. Would a GPS help?

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