Upload & Sell: Off
| p.1 #9 · Going to Ireland in June |
You already have the advice for where, but I have to tell you how I lost some manhood and self esteem there last September.
Rented a cheap Euro Ford in Dublin to drive the basic southern loop to Galway. First time driving on the wrong side of the road. I learned to drive back in '63 on a 56 Merc that was about 10 feet wide, 3 speed with no power steering. I've driven everything since - cycles, big trucks, farm machinery, even a brief stint behind the helm of a Navy destroyer. No problem, I thought.
Wrong, I learned! I flattened two tires and messed up the spare rim on the first day, while my wife had a nervous breakdown riding in the passenger seat. Fear of crossing the center line into oncoming traffic (on very narrow roads) makes you hug the left edge of the road, and that left edge is full of hazards.
Now, to my credit, everything I hit would have been a minor bump with no problem in my nice American SUV with big tires. But the tires on that cheap Ford could not survive a 4 inch rock, or a 3 inch curb, or even a minor pothole. Even at a measly 40 MPH. Blew out the sidewalls.
First time, the lug wrench of the cheap Ford broke immediately. Had to call the Irish AAA. They led me to a shop that sold me a new tire and mounted it in less than 30 minutes. Second time we were in the middle of nowhere. Took over an hour to flag down someone with another Ford to borrow a lug wrench. Turns out the Euro Ford had American sized lug nuts and every other car in Ireland has metric.
Got the spare on, dinged it good a little while later, but made it to town to buy another new tire. This time I chatted with the mechanics and they laughed. Said they do a lot of business putting new tires on rentals driven by Americans.
I gave up and let the wife drive for the rest of the trip. She did OK because she drove like a snail and would even come to complete stop when meeting an oncoming truck or bus. And I learned how nerve wrecking it is to be the passenger. It took 3 more full days before we both calmed down enough to enjoy the trip.
Here is a vision of the experience.
And for what it's worth, here is a link to a map of our route.
My wife planned the route using Rick Steves guidebook, which was very good. It has lots of good tips and insider info. Like drive the Ring of Kerry clockwise, starting in the southeast early in the morning because all the huge tour buses drive counter clockwise from the north.
My Ireland gallery: