It’s April 9, 2016…a day late arriving to Ireland. Even with all of the planning, the control a traveler has on air travel is very limited or just doesn’t exist. Because of the delay getting to Dublin, I had to cancel all of my accommodation for the majority of the week, so what does one do who has no plans, is behind schedule and has a rental car? Well, they start driving.
Driving in Ireland is easier said than done. I tried to prepare myself with youtube videos reading other peoples blogs, and googling it every chance I got, but when it came down to the physical act of driving…it was terrifying.
At one point, I stopped, cried and evaluated every life decision that brought me to this point; I then realized I needed to suck it up because for the next 5 days, I would be driving Ireland.
Once I was antiquated with the car, a manual car, I slowly proceeded out of the parking lot, when I say slowly, I mean snails could have out run me. I drove around the airport for a little while, staling out occasionally, drove on the wrong side of the road because apparently I forgot I was in Ireland (this only happened once) and stopped at every round about/ traffic circle (this is frowned upon by the Irish). For those of you who will not read all of this ,here are some tips for driving in Ireland:
- GET FULL COVERAGE ON THE VEHICLE!!!! You will hit something, run over a curb, or scrap a wall of foliage while driving. There are no shoulders on the secondary roads and lots of rocks and loose gravel. Full coverage is worth every penny because something WILL happen to the car.
- Splurge on an automatic. Your hips, knees and back will thank you later
- Don’t Panic: Heard of white knuckling it? Well I did just that every time a bus passed me or another car. But keep your whits about you and you will be fine (It’ll be grande)
- Pay the $10 a day for either a GPS or use your phone with a hotspot. Hotspot also $10 a day. I used the hotspot and it was a life saver. Maps are great but GPS is better. Both can be purchased through your rental car company.
- Bring a road map.
- LOOK RIGHT when turning left
- Americans…you can not turn right on red.
- Speed limits: 120 on the highway, 60 on secondary roads, 50 through towns
- Traffic Cameras: The signs with what looks like a camera on it is not showing you a place where you can take photos, this is a traffic camera.
- TOLL: There is a Toll on the M11 which you have to pay via the app or online with in 24 hours. Your rental car company should give you this information.
3 days into the journey my whits were about me and I was driving like a local, realized round abouts/traffic circles do make more sense than stop signs and stop lights, passing other cars is not so bad and common sense goes a really long way. I would like to thank a few individuals. Without them, this journey would not have happened.
Rick Richardson, my dad, he taught me how to drive a manual car when I was 17. Damn, I wish I still had that truck. Also, what ever teacher taught me to read a map…it’s an invaluable skills.