In the beginning of June I drove 2700 kilometers over the course of nine days in Ireland. Actually 2690. My mother drove 10 kilometers one evening after I had decided it might be nice to have a Guinness with dinner. I quickly realized that, although I enjoy a good Guinness, the stress of having my mother drive on, what to an American is the wrong side of the road, far outweighed the deliciousness of the Guinness.
Driving 2700 kilometers in nine days was a bit of a change for me. Usually, when I travel, I walk. Everywhere. I spot church spires on the horizon and walk until I find them. I walk to tourist sights. To hostels. To restaurants. And I love it.
But this trip was different. My grandfather met my mother and me in Ireland. He is 80 years old and has a bit of a bad hip. Despite still thinking it a good idea to carry refrigerators up from the basement on his own. But that bad hip made this a different kind of trip. Suddenly, I was road tripping through all of Ireland instead of hitting one or two cities.
It was an amazing experience. We saw more in those nine days than I could have even dreamed of seeing normally. We stopped on mountain passes and took in the view. We saw signs written in English. In English and Irish. And just in Irish. We drove from Dublin to Dingle to Derry. We watched tour buses take up an entire country road. We scraped rear view mirrors with cars passing by. We saw the country from the highway.
Honestly, I was sceptical. And honestly, I still prefer walking. But it was an unforgettable experience and one of the best ways to see an incredible amount of country in just a short amount of time. I saw things I never would have experienced if not in a car (like being charged by a wayward sheep). So if you’re thinking of an Irish destination when Europe travel planning, give it a shot. It’s not so bad driving on the left-hand side of the road.