Every country and city in the world has a set of laws that either make you laugh or raise your eyebrows in wonder. And, Ireland, and Dublin has a fair share of those. I suppose many of the laws below are a pure fiction, myths that have been passed, often from one generation to another. Yet still, they are fun to read.
So, if you are planning a trip to Dublin, get yourself accustomed to some of the funniest laws you might have to adhere to while in the city.
Most of the laws relate to the general public, naturally. An average Irishman has been subjected to some of the funniest restrictions in the city, however, there are also few laws permitting them more than you would imagine.
If you are coming to Dublin for holidays or a short break, make sure that you remember to adhere to the following:
Law: It is illegal to be drunk in a pub. Unbelievable but true…. apparently …. and … never seen to be executed.
Law: It is illegal to smoke tobacco on Grafton Street. The funny thing about this law is that two main tobacco shops in the city are located exactly on Grafton Street. This is another law that never seems to be executed.
Law: If a Leprechaun calls at your door you must, by law, give him a share of your dinner. No choice.
Law: Holders of the freedom of Dublin have the right to pasture sheep on common ground within the city boundaries. The law was gladly executed by Bono and The Edge of U2 couple years ago. However, some say that by doing so they accidentally broke the law at the same time as you are only allowed to graze your own sheep, not borrowed ones. See for yourself
Law: You can drive around on public roads without ever proving your competency at driving. I am not going to comment on that one, come and see for yourself.
Law: The Tippling Act 1735 prohibits a publican from pursuing a customer for money owed for any drink given on credit. The law pretty much explains why you can never get a drink on credit in Ireland.
Law: It is illegal to conduct nuclear tests in the city. This law from 2006 clearly states that: “A person who carries out, or causes the carrying out of, a nuclear explosion in the State shall be guilty of an offense.”
Law: Crossing a railway track on a bicycle is illegal whereas you can drive across it legally. You are still supposed to dismount and walk your bike across at a level crossing.
Law: It is illegal to perform any form of witchcraft in the city. Sorry….
Students have their fair share in enjoying some of the craziest laws, a honor they seem to be rarely entertaining though. If you are coming to the city to study, particularly at the Trinity College make sure that you remember about the following:
Law: In Trinity College, students can demand a glass of wine during the exam. Another version of the law states that they have to wear a sword though, which makes it a little more complicated, however ties in with the next law regarding the student body.
Law: It is illegal for a student to walk through Trinity College without a sword. Unfortunately, I have never noticed this law to be executed though, sadly.
Law: You can shoot someone and kill them from the top of the bell tower in Trinity on a particular day of the year and not be charged with murder. Apparently this is true! However, it is impossible to find out what day of the year it is….
Crazy Past Laws
There is also a number of past laws in Ireland that today raise your eyebrows in wonder. Some of the best ones include:
Law: It is illegal to operate a flashing amber beacon on an agricultural tractor (and many other vehicles). Another source claims that this law is still active.
Law: (by [Henry VIII): a pilot of a ship who runs aground in Dublin Bay will be blinded as punishment for their incompetence.
Law: The penalty for suicide was death by hanging. Origin: 1964
There are of course different variations of the above laws and most likely, many of them are more legend than any actual laws but it is still interesting that someone would think of anything like that.
And, since there is no proof that those laws are definitely only a tale, then beware when you place your feet on an Irish soil!
Image credit: Trig’s via Flickr, Creative Commons License
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