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Gut check by george02
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george02
06/04/01 10:28 AM

Gut check
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Hi there... I've asked a couple questions on this board regarding a trip I intend on taking to Ireland in May 2002.

At the time of our trip, both my travel companion and myself will be 23. We're planning on renting a small car and driving all over the island, from Shannon to Dingle to Donegal to Belfast to Dublin, etc. over 15 or 16 days.

The question I'm now asking myself is, am I crazy? See, I'm not the most adventurous person in the world, and I'm starting to wonder if Ireland is the best place for me to be traipsing about. Every descrition of every place I've read about seems to include some hair-raising drive along the side of a mountain two hundred feet over the ocean with a sheer drop and no rail. This sort of thing paralyses me.

And of course, I have doubts regarding getting from one place to the next... This is why I'm apprehensive about making reservations, for fear that I won't be able to find the rooms I've paid for.

Perhaps you might be able to confirm or deny some of these fears for me... Namely, how treacherous does the driving get in Ireland, and how difficult is it to find your way (especially in out-of-the-way places)?

Thanks,
George

IrelandExpert
(Community Owner)
06/04/01 1:43 PM

RE: Gut check
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Hi George,

I think that you have a case of traveler's jitters! Ireland is a small country that is relatively easy to drive around in. Even if you do get lost (and that's half the fun of a trip to Ireland) you will eventually end up somewhere where the locals will put you right. Also you will have a companion who might spilt the driving with you and/or help with navigation.

As for trecherous cliff roads--most of them have railings, stone walls or stratigically placed boulders between you and oblivion. Also, it is easy to avoid these roads and take alternative routes. For instance when going from Shannon to Dingle don't take the Connor Pass Road. Instead take the R561 via Inch. You might want to consult with the hosts at your B&B each morning as to your route that day so that they can offer their recommendations for the best local roads for you.

I also suggest that you get a good road map like Michelin or the new atlas that I just found a few weeks ago on my trip "The Complete Road Atlas of Ireland" by the Ordanance Survey of Northern Ireland. They are available virtually anywhere in Ireland; from the grocery store to the tourist board to every newsagents shop.

So to sum it up; most of your driving need not be "trecherous" if you choose the right routes. And don't be afraid of getting lost as it will only add new adventures to your trip that you will remember fondly. Also don't belive all those "horror stories" about driving in Ireland; many of them are exagerated.

Please let us know how it goes upon your return. Your report will be most appreciated!

Happy travels,

Michele

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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