Driving · Ireland in 3,585km · Ireland June 2012

The Car and Driving

When I would mention that we are going to be driving around Ireland, I have often received a curious look, closely followed by … You do know they drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. It is usually more of a statement than a question.

So, picture this. You have been up for 24 hours and the one thing that you have put off worrying about is the car/drive. It then begins to sink in as we are standing at the car rental kiosk as they are taking drive’s licenses, etc. Then you hear … What would you like to drive? A BMW or a blah, blah, blah…. The clerk was patient as I asked … A BMW? Same price? And he says … Yes, a BWM and a blah, blah, blah. We take the BWM!

Out we head to the car lot. Instead of both of us searching, I go ahead. I am going to drive first. I keep thinking … I was planning on an old beater and I was just handed the keys to a BMW! Ahhh, man!

Once located, I think, can this get any better? I was hoping to not draw any attention to ourselves as we drive down the road. Not only is it NOT a beater, but it is brand new (9055 miles) and it is of a color that screams …. Looks at us! Yes, it is bright orange.

Again, remember …. 24 hours with no sleep. So, I go to unlock it, open the door on the left side and the steering wheel is missing. (Hopefully, no one is looking…..) I go around to the right side and in I go. Now, repeat after me … I can do this, I can do this, I can do this ….

Next, adjusting the seat. There are six different levers on this seat … Who knew? Then a keyless ignition … Won’t start. So, I sit there. Sara is still standing and waiting. Still smiling about the wrong side of the car. Turn it off … Then on … Nothing. Then … Duh, push the clutch in!

So, off I go in the parking lot. We load up, Sara gets in and begins to adjust her seat to move it back; I am focusing on getting things moving and I hear this ‘whump.’ I look over and she laying flat on her back with this surprised look! I think … Wrong lever! And , we still haven’t left the parking lot! We can do this, we can do this ….

We have 55 miles to go. Sara is navigating and I am thankful that we flew into Shannon. There’s is very little traffic. We can do this! Off we go and Sara is stuck hearing …. Stay to the left, stay to the left; left turn, tight; right turn, wide; roundabout … Left and exit on the left. Left, left, left ….

I hate to disappoint everyone, but the drive was mostly uneventful. I love roundabouts – if you aren’t sure, just keep going around until you are! Interstate passing or fast lane is on the right. Interstate exits on left. Roads can get get very narrow … Sara kept waiting for me to take off the mirror on her side by the stone walls. And, I want to hug to the left, which mean we hear ‘thump, thump, thump,’ as we drive over the road reflectors.

The only incident was when I had to turn right in construction … Turn wide. But thought, follow the Irishman in front of you. Wrong choice … Another American going to wrong way in construction. We bumped a construction sign, but the paint left on the car rubbed off. Lesson learned – don’t assume the person in front of you knows what they are doing!

Here is our BMW!


By the way … We had three guys watching us in the parking lot. I hope we made their day!