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Experience Driving on the Left
side of the Road in Ireland.
these roads are narrow.
distance looked shorter on the
Before you read any further
let me make one thing clear, the
following is not to discourage you from
driving in Ireland, driving in Ireland is
part of the adventure. To see the sights
of Ireland you have the following
options; take a bus tour, walk, bicycle,
pay a private driver, or drive your self,
isn't going to do it. The following is to
insure, if you decide to drive in
Ireland, you have an idea of what you are
getting into. Irish drivers are polite,
and surprisingly, Ireland road traffic is
often (but not always) on the light side.
sometimes even before I had the car in drive, I
would hear from the 16 year old in the back seat
"Dad, stay to the left!". On the road I
would hear, "Dad, your going too fast!.
"Dad, your too far left!" and
occasionally from my wife a "Jerry, watch it!".
Ok, sometimes these admonishments were justified
but sometimes they were just my family expressing
their general apprehension with driving in
like in Britain, in
Ireland (both north and south) one drives
on the left side of the road. On
my visit to Britain in 1992, it took me a
day or two to adjust to driving on the
left side of the road. In 2004, being 12
years older, I found the mental change to
driving on the left much more difficult
program for finding a location
Before entering an intersection, us 'drive on
the right people' will check for traffic making
certain we look left last before pulling in to
traffic; this is particular important if we have
a limited view down the left side of the street. Driving
on the left side of the street requires one to
reverse the look left, last, habit. As
cars on the left side of the street will be
arriving at you from the right, you want to look
right last before pulling out in to the
- an average size rural road. Many roads
we drove in Ireland were narrower than
the one pictured above.
are generally in good shape but are often
very narrow. Lined with hedges and often
stonewalls, even at relatively slow
speeds the roads make you feel like you
are traveling fast. In some areas of
Ireland such as the Ring of
Dingle, at times, the roads can be so
narrow you will need to pick a spot to
stop and allow on-coming traffic to pass.
(How the Tour Buses make these drives, is
a wonder to me.)
As you travel down
these beautiful hedge line roads, you
might spot convex mirrors hanging in the
hedges. When you are at an intersection,
where you can't see down the road to
check traffic, look for a mirror hanging
across the way; it may be the only way to
check for cross traffic.
|It may take longer to get to your
destination than you think.
Looking at a map of Ireland one might think it is
possible to drive from its most northern tip to
its most southern tip in 5 or 6 hours. But, that
thinking is not the reality on the ground. Yes,
there are some major divided highways that can
take you fairly quickly across the island. Keep
in mind though, that most highways do not go
around cities but through them. On approaching
cities, roundabouts are used to redirect traffic,
in the process lessening the amount of traffic on
the main road. In my experience, the main road (now
a regular two lane street), usually continues
through the center of downtown with all its
Other factors that effect how fast
you can travel are the rural nature of the road
and the over all topography of the land. Costal
and mountain driving can take up considerable
time due to the frequency and sharpness of curves.
After a long day of touring, narrow roads and
stops at intersections may make that colorful
B&B you booked off a main trek seem like eons
|I plan to cover the
following topics on driving when I finish this
of the road rules in Ireland -
even the cars are different.
I buy extra insurance coverage?
certain you check the tires before
driving off in that rental car.
- Should I drive in Ireland? What
type of car should I get?