5 Things We Learned About Driving in Ireland
One year ago we embarked on our first international trip as a couple. A good rule of thumb to determine if a couple will work together - travel. Traveling internationally requires problem solving, map navigating, good communication and a whole lotta spontaneity.
We're still here to write about it, in fact, we traveled so well together we decided to do it full-time! We're taking a look back on our Ireland adventure and a few things we learned along the way. We only spent 7 quick days in Ireland but learned a lot along the way.
1. Driving on the left isn't so bad after all.
We were nervous about driving on the other side of the road, but we knew it would beat taking bus tours every day to see the country side. We wanted to take our time and see some of the less touristy areas. Once we got the keys to the car, our hearts were racing. Are they really going to let us drive without a driving test?
It turns out it wasn't so bad! We immediately drove out of the city so we could get used to the new digs on the open road. We thought turning would be the most difficult aspect but thankfully most of the intersections were roundabouts.
We didn't see a single accident the entire time we were driving, so maybe it's the right way (I mean correct way) to drive after all.
2. Don't be scared of the small roads.
Yes, some of the roads are very small, but they have plenty of places where you can pull over to let another car pass you... even if it requires going in reverse for 1/2 a mile. Drive slow. It gave us more time to take in scenery as well as gave us peace of mind. If a faster moving car came up behind us, we would politely move to the side and let them pass.
The unbelievably small and ever-winding roads took us to some of the most beautiful places we experienced during the whole trip. We drove the Ring of Kerry into the Black Hills and it was more breathtaking with each turn.
3. Watch out for sheep.
Seriously. These little fuzzy dudes are everywhere outside of the city. They're definitely the cutest reason to drive a little bit slower. Ireland even has sheep that aren't your typical white sheep. We're pretty sure whoever owns them just painted them to help identify them but it would be a lot cooler if they were born pink and blue. All the local sheep we encountered were extremely welcoming and didn't seem to mind us being there but they didn't have much to say.
4. We are thankful we purchased car insurance.
Most of the time, while driving in the states, we don't purchase the extra insurance because our everyday car insurance covers rentals as well. Although it will cost you a few extra bucks, we would highly recommend purchasing the insurance. Why? Well, all the reasons we have mentioned above, driving on the left, roundabouts, small roads and sheep! Also when you think of Ireland you think of green pastures, but do you also think of rocky cliffs? From experience, there are as many random patches of rocks as there are green spaces and sometimes you back into one of the big rocks. So make sure you don't have to pay for that basketball size dent in the rear bumper and get the full coverage! We rented with Europcar and it could't have been any easier to pick up/drop off our car.
5. Always opt for road trip snacks.
After fuel and insurance for the vehicle, snacks might be the next most important thing to purchase for your road trip. Because of our trip to Ireland it's now almost impossible for us to imagine any road trip without our go to snack of choice: SALT AND VINEGAR CHIPS! We're naming these the Official Chip of Roam to Home.
Salt & Vinegar Chip History: Joe "Spud" Murphy, the owner of an Irish chip company called Tayto (our favorite chip brand while we were in Ireland), developed a technology to add seasoning during the manufacture process in the 1950's. He developed several flavors that took off in Ireland, including Salt & Vinegar.
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