GrahamH wrote:Nit-picky perhaps, but I was just passing watching the tourists scrambling about vieing for space with passing hoards of pedestrians, and observed firstly how utterly ridiculous these yokes look, secondly how ugly they are, thirdly how insensitively positioned they are in a tourist hotspot, and fourthly the obstacle they presented right in the middle of the busiest footpath in the city. Just no thought.
Going back to the title of the thread, having recently heard a speech (though more of a passionate rant) on Irish limestone from one of the two producers left in Kilkenny, the extraordinary fact emerged that at least 50% of their output goes straight onto boats to the Netherlands. They cannot get enough of Irish limestone, and are willing to pay for it in spite of their own native resource - albeit somewhat inferior. Irish limestone is proving particularly popular for sea defences, but also for paving and quite highly engineered interlocking municipal paving systems that are expensive to produce. They spend significant sums on paving in the Netherlands, deeming it to be an improving, cost-eflective, long term investment.
And yet we don't even use the stuff here! Indeed in Kilkenny there's a row brewing over proposals to use Chinese granite from the other side of the world to repave the city centre, rather than native limestone from the outskirts of the town. It was noted that too often municpal authorities in Ireland just see figures on a sheet and the bottom line, and nothing of the wider costs - social, economic and environmental - of trucking the alternative half way across the planet from potentially dubious sources. Once these factors are considered, our own little narrow world of penny-pinching dissolves into insignificance.
Apparently there's also a reluctance to use limestone for paving: it often being deemed to be too slippery and not abrasive enough, whereas it is generally more than adequate in its natural state and especially so if a machine-punched finished is given.
It'd be great to see more native limestone paving the capital's streets. You see the odd freak blue limestone kerb that stands out beautifully even against concrete, but that's about the height of it. We really need to take both the longer term and wider view on this issue.
I may have mentioned it here before but I was flabbergasted to hear the same anecdote from a Tobermore sales rep a few years ago. He also stated that chineses granite is cheaper than ANY locally produced paving material. Prompts the obvious speculation about the lack of labour costs in chinese quarries... I know it is easier to cut as it is such a uniform material but if tonne for tonne it's cheaper than even the crappest suburban driveway material it is going to appeal to the pple who control the purse strings in local authorities,