I can say, with absolute certainty, that yesterday’s drive from Dublin to Enniscrone was the most challenging of my life. I expected a bit of a challenge as I have never driven on the lefthand side of the road (well, legally) in a car with the steering on the righthand side. Similarly, I had not done so in Ireland. Neither had I done so in Dublin at rush hour.
That was the start of the drive and it was exciting. I repeated “stay to the left” to myself at every intersection. That worked wonderfully. I suggest this as a mantra to those new to driving on the “other” side of the road. The only real challenge in getting out of Dublin was a large roundabout that I circled twice (in finest Clark Griswold style).
After a couple of hours of driving I was sure that I had passed the “drive-on-the-other-side-of-the-road” challenge with honours. Then it started to rain … and get dark. The pièce de résistance came when we turned off of the (relatively) large highways and onto the (freakishly) narrow secondary roads. These roads were very narrow and edged with stone fences where there should have been a shoulder. The speed limit remained at 100km/h.
Holy whizzing side mirrors, Batman.
Between the speed, the unfamiliar roads, the rain, and the darkness I counted down every kilometre until we pulled into the parking area in front of our new home. It took two hours of sitting in the living room before I even considered lying down to get some sleep.
If you take a look at the directions we followed you can see why I was so confident after the first couple of hours. It was raining and dark around step 10 of the directions and the number small towns, roundabouts, and quick direction changes (even staying on the same road often entailed changing directions) made the last hour of the drive the longest of my life. Janet, acting as GPS and navigator, provided perfect directions. She did not fare much better in terms of tension. Apparently is was not only hard to drive, it was hard to watch.
That was yesterday. Today, we drove to the nearby town of Ballina to pick up an Internet stick from O2. It is barely working so we will likely go back and try Vodaphone tomorrow. The town we are in, Enniscrone, is beautiful. The girls have been out playing in a nearby playground (pictures to follow when our Internet connectivity is better) and are already planning on entering cakes and cards in the upcoming town fair this weekend.
I am still quite tired from yesterday so my school work will have to wait for another day or two before I get back in the swing of things. The same it true for the girls’ schooling. Everybody is excited about getting into a routine (a somewhat odd thing to be excited about). It is very comfortable here and quite similar to PEI. There are tractors on the road and the influence of agriculture is everywhere. The town reminds me of Water St. in Summerside from when I was growing up. There are many small stores along a single thoroughfare and few (if any) sport a chain-store logo. I am looking forward to the next days.