Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Driving in Ireland

Our stay in Cork was really just a jumping off point to get a car and explore the west.  It was a lovely sunny day when we got up, and since we weren't planning to pick up the car until noon, we spent the morning exploring Cork, which has so many tantalizing streets. We walked to the spectacular St. Fin Barre's church and took loads of pictures and then went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and take a taxi to the airport, where our car was waiting for us.

I'd been dreading this.  I really don't like to drive in unfamiliar areas,and the added stress of simultaneously adjusting to driving on the left was freaking me out. But we couldn't just stay in Cork, so off to the airport we went.  Our cab driver (who looked exactly like Jon's uncle) gave me the most helpful advice: to just be conscious of keeping the white line on my RIGHT, especially at roundabouts.

I told Jon that we would take a few laps around the parking lot just to get used to the car, but then, inexplicably, I drove straight out the exit and got sucked into a maelstrom of roundabouts, incomprehensible road signs, and then a dual carriageway, aimed at Tralee.  Did we want to head toward Tralee?  Who the fuck knows? We had a route planned, but in those first moments of panic, all we could think about was not dying. No, we didn't have GPS. Talk about Jesus take the wheel!

I stalled the car two or three times.  I KNOW how to drive stick shift, but I had difficulty shifting with the left hand at first. MIRACULOUSLY, we ended up on the right road and actually arrived at our destination on time and without getting lost. The scenery on the two hour drive was spectacular, but we were too busy trying to not shit our pants to take any pictures, although I took the one below today.  It pretty much sums up how I felt while driving yesterday

Irish road sign in Castletownbere


  1. Wait, the stick shift is on the left side? No way would I be attempting to drive. Just no.

  2. Left-handed people might enjoy emigrating to the British Isles to drive their stick-shift cars. I can't imagine shifting with my non-dominant hand. I'm glad you survived.

  3. I cannot imagine the difficulty in driving stick reversed. That alone would be worse than driving on the opposite side of the road. You are so brave. SO brave.

  4. THIS is how we felt in Bali, which is why we did not drive there. We've driven in England and Scotland and even in Italy without mishap, which seems like a miracle when I ponder it.