Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Technically, we weren't "lost." We were "Differently oriented."

Cliffs of Moher

Day two of our Irish trip, we rented a car and headed to the Cliffs of Moher, driving through the Burren on our way there.

It was my first-ever time driving on the left side of the road, and I was nervous heading out I soon discovered that it doesn’t much matter what side of the road you drive on in Ireland – they are, shall we say, economical with their asphalt, though liberal with their speed limits, meaning that roads barely wide enough for a man and his dog are posted as being 100 km/h zones.

We didn't know where we were here. The cow was no help.

The road signs are, (and I’m struggling to be polite here) idiosyncratic. They are not always located where one can see them from one’s car, meaning it is not uncommon for cars to stop in the middle of an intersection while the driver peers at the sign, trying to interpret it: not always easy, given that they don’t always indicate which road goes where. They’re more about providing options than information.

In any case, the Burren, we were assured, is a dramatically rocky hilly area in County Clare. Ireland, we had discovered, is indeed the Emerald Isle, resplendent in green. But every jewel needs to be set in something, and in Ireland it’s rock – rock walls stripe the countryside, rock cottages crumble fetchingly in fields.

So the Burren, we assumed, would have to be spectacularly rocky. And, theoretically, it is: but we didn’t really see it. We drove near it – but the road we were on ran parallel to the one we were supposed to be on, so it only ever appeared in the distance. However, we did manage to pass a field that was entirely rock – no vegetation at all – next to an identically bare field, separated by a stone wall. Because, after all, you wouldn’t want your rocks to mix.

1 comment:

Natalie Joan said...

Sounds much like our drive through the Scottish Highlands. In a car barely bigger than Dave. He gets sore now, just thinking about it.
Just be happy you didn't get stuck behind a convoy of army trucks on a SINGLE lane road under construction, turning a 4 hour drive into seven hours. Husbands driving under such conditions have been known to be cranky.