Category Archives: IRELAND

Driving on Irish Country Roads – with video

Have you mastered The Basics?  That’s grand, then, so.  Onward to country lanes: First, disabuse yourself of the notion that you get to see the Irish countryside when you drive.  Make a rule that the driver looks at the road and the passenger gets to look out the side window if you want to avoid problems.  But don’t worry, the passenger won’t see much either.  Irish country roads tend to be guarded by tall hedges, which the farmers typically use instead of fences.  And which are not see-through. In the next picture, the thickish green brush curving up the hill is a tall hedge, with a smaller hedge to the right and the road in between.  Drivers here are lucky – they actually get to see to the right, provided they can dodge the potholes on the way up a 10% incline! Once you know what to expect, prepare yourself … Continue reading

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Driving in Ireland: the Basics

The first step toward driving in Ireland is to ride in the front passenger seat with an Irish driver.  When you’ve done that enough so you don’t cringe and lean sideways every time an oncoming car seems to be HEADED DIRECTLY FOR YOU, then you might be ready to shift to the left side and drive. Remember: The Irish very thoughtfully provide these signs on the main roads leaving airports.  By the time you stop giggling at the mental image of Hogan’s Heroes’ Sergeant Shultz yelling “Achtung! Drive on Left!” you’ve relaxed.  Until you realize there’s no center line on your small highway and you’re actually back on the right hand side.  But don’t worry, the Irish are generally very patient with dumb Americans and will just nod and continue when you’re finally back on the right correct side of the line. That center line turns out to be very … Continue reading

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All Things Irish

In honor of St Patrick’s Day, and because I still really miss Ireland, I’m going to fill March with All Things Irish.  Or at least all the things that I loved or hated or was entranced/ intrigued/puzzled by during our two-and-a-half years there. We’re going to start the month out with a movie, set in Ireland of course.  And because it’s my birthday, and because as a child I always wished I had been born a day earlier, on Leap Day, my pick for today is . . .  you guessed it . . . Leap Year.  I only saw this for the first time last night, but that’s probably because I was in Ireland when it came out and it never got there. Now, I’m not a movie critic, and what I like isn’t necessarily what the critics like, so I’ll stay away from comments about acting or directing.  … Continue reading

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Indiana vs. Ireland

Well, we’re back.  Returned in a whirlwind trip in November and I’m STILL adjusting.  I guess there’s this thing called reverse culture shock and it’s pretty common.  I didn’t expect it, tho.  I had no problem coming home for a visit and driving on the right for two weeks, but this time it took me more than two months to really feel comfortable.  (Plus some luck that there were no other cars on the road when I DID drive on the left!)  And that’s not the only thing that’s hard. Indiana: flat, brown, straight roads, the same stores and restaurants all over, bland American accents. On the other hand, Kim and John are close, Bryan came out for Christmas, and I spent a couple weeks with my parents in January and will be going back in May. Ireland: green, hilly, winding roads, lovely Irish lilts interspersed with unintelligible West Cork … Continue reading

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All-Ireland Football Finals

County Cork is going mad right now.  Cork is playing Co Down in the All-Ireland Football Championship on Sunday.  (That’s Gaelic football, not American, and not soccer.)  And since Cork is “the Rebel county,” there’s lots of “Up the Rebels” along with “Up Cork.”  But one of the fun things is that since we’re playing Down, not Dublin or Galway or Kerry or such, we’ll also hear a lot of “Up Down!” Anyway, I hear a song called “Come On Ye Rebels” on my alarm radio almost every morning these days.  I went to find the lyrics, and found this Screaming Celts YouTube video instead.  The clips are mostly of hurling (Cork didn’t make it past the quarterfinals), but any with a soccer ball are from Gaelic football matches.  Oh- and the county teams are the pro teams. Edited to add:  Cork won! Have the match recorded, but watching it … Continue reading

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