Horse diapers for Ireland

The you-know-what is hitting the fan in Killarney, the "Number One" tourist destination for Americans visiting the Emerald Isle.

County Kerry officials are in a heated race to have Killarney designated a "Tidy Town," a coveted rank among highly competitive country tourist authoriries. But one thing is standing in their way, or perhaps, just sort of sitting in their way. Well, it's not really sitting, either. Let's just say that they can't take this much-desired step without, well, stepping in it.

Horse poop, that is.

Beautiful Killarney National Park, one of Ireland's gems and a major stop for visitors, has become something of a rest stop for the  horse-drawn sight-seeing carriages -- called jarveys -- that also traverse the park toting tourists who prefer to ride rather than walk -- thus both avoiding the "problem," and being the main reason for it.

"Horse nappies" -- that's diapers for the rest of us, or "dung-catchers" if you read the county rule book, or "equine sanitary devices" if that's your, er, business -- have been mandated by the county so that what they claim are "mountainous piles of dung" can be no more. They say that both tourists and local residents have it up to here, as it were, hop-scotching their way around poop piles when they'd prefer ro be seeing the sights instead of smelling the smells.

But the drivers are saying "nay," and their horses are saying "neigh," too. (Get it?)

According to their scientific studies, the "nappies" could undermine the safety of their passengers by changing the "load" the horse is pulling, and the result could be a flipover or some other horrific accident that, even at about the speed of one mile per hour, could be deadly or even catastrophic.

The argument has gone back and forth for years, but yesterday, government officials put their foot down, so to speak, and made it an official ordinance: No horsies without nappies. Or else.

But apparently the "or else" part wasn't convicing, and possibly didn't even exist. Because none of the carriages which operate along the 15 kilometers of internal roadways in the park complied -- and that brought in the feds, Ireland's National Parks and Wildlife Service.

They handled the problem the only way top-level national government officials can: They issued "stern warnings." And the language made it clear where they stand.

"The NPWS are disappointed to note that your jaunting car has not been equipped with a device despite a long process of consultation and demonstrations in relation to these new arrangements," say the notices, which are in English.

Who will win? IrishCentral.com will stay on top of this!