Donations are welcome
Every dollar helps!
Alright let’s pick up where I left off… we awoke from our hostel fairly early, around 10 am, this was pretty weird considering that to our bodies it was like 5 in the morning. Regardless we got up and went downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast was fairly light consisting of hard-boiled eggs, toast and jam, and some cereal… oh and coffee (the most important obviously). We sat with the German couple we had met the night before and enjoyed our meal. After finishing up we said our goodbyes, packed up and made our way to a bus stop that would take us to the airport. We had to go back to the airport because I had accidentally made our rental pick up there, rather than in the city itself (noob mistake). Either way the whole rental car process went fairly smooth but the insurance ended up costing 50 euro a day (I had budgeted about 30). Luckily the attendant said we could return the car early and receive a refund for the days not used if we wanted. I figured we could try it out and play it by ear; but that at least gave us a little more flexibility to stay on budget.
While we were waiting for the car to get ready I found a great deal on Air Bnb which was a private house (an attached unit) that was in a county called Tipperary. This was about a 3 hour drive from the airport so I emailed the host (Valerie) and let her know of our arrival time. Luckily the car didn’t take to too long to get ready for us and after a brief waiting period we were all set.
This is where the fun begins! As you may or may not know, cars in Ireland have the driver’s seat on the right-hand side, the clutch is operated with the left hand, and you drive on the left-hand side of the road. The amount of neuroplasticity needed here was pretty grand and I definitely felt way out of sorts. Before we left the lot, actually before I even started the car, there was a foreign gentleman in the car behind us on the lot. I don’t think he was accustomed to manual transmission because when he started the car I guess he was in gear or he released the clutch to fast and BANG right into our rear bumper. We got out of the car and let the one of the employees know, luckily there was hardly a scratch and I don’t think the other drive even had a clue, because he drove off without saying anything. The employee assured us it was no big deal as I was fully insured and that particular part of the car was used to luggage scratching it up. I was reluctant but ready to get a move on the road.
So we were off, thankfully Melanie acted as an excellent copilot giving me directions at each step of the way. I’ll also add there are very few stop lights and nearly all traffic diverts through roundabouts, this was not uncommon but did create some challenges in interpretation when the GPS couldn’t keep up with the car. In addition, I can’t express how uncomfortable I felt with all the new novelties to driving. It was like I was 16 again and first learning how to drive, needless to say I was going well below the speed limit (which is in km/hour, and also an awkward shift). Anyways about 15 minutes into our drive we had a rather sharp turn where I guess I was a little to close to the left and side of the road and so I popped up on the curb. The car’s tire DID NOT appreciate this and left us with the mortifying sound of a popped tire. So we pulled off and checked it out, sure enough there was a big ole gash right in the side of the passenger (left side) tire. Thankfully there was a good spare and we were able to change it with relative ease.
After that, the rest of the driving in Ireland I was hugging the middle of the road like a dashed line. The next challenge was then navigating around toll roads to reach our destination which ended up being a little tricky but not unmanageable. After we got out of the city and on to the highway driving was pretty easy… until we got the rural county of Tipperary. Here roads became roomy enough for about 1 and half cars to fit in comfortably, this however does not stop locals from barreling around corners at full speed with little regard for what was around the bend. This left us in a state of almost perpetually tightened sphincters until we arrived at our destination.
We arrived at our Air BnB around 5pm or so and after a brief conversation with our host (who made us feel at home like no other) we got situated, unpacked, and hopped in the bath. This was nice and relaxing considered we hadn’t showered in about 2 days and were very weary. After our bath we went to a local Centra (discount supermarket) picked up some groceries and made dinner. Not too long after dinner we were both exhausted and a full-sized bed seem like a king compared to the bunk the night before so we laid down, put on some Netflix episodes of the office I had saved on my computer, and passed out.