There are bragging rights and then there are bragging rights. Some of the gold standards entail hiking the tallest peaks, sailing the seven seas, and running in the NYC marathon, but we enjoy the bragging right that brings out the most oohs and aahs! We brag that we drove in Ireland! We heard stories for years from friends and family who ventured to drive in Ireland. We listened to tales of high hedgerows, stone walls that line the roadways for miles, streets as narrow as a driveway, and waiting for herds of various animals to cross the road. However, the tales of woe still didn’t prepare us for the real thing!

On our first trip, after arriving at Shannon Airport, Kate immediately opened what she thought was the passenger door and looked very confused. She quickly ran around the car leaving Mike behind the steering wheel. He found himself driving on the left side of the road for the very first time, in a rental car, having to manipulate the stick shift with his left hand. We were off for what we thought would be a one-hour drive to Doolin, in County Clare.

Kate, for her part, had worked tirelessly for weeks plotting the trip, pulling off detailed maps, and putting them neatly in a notebook. Leaving Shannon Airport that morning, we were met with one daunting roundabout after another in very rapid fire. Yes, we have “some” roundabouts in the U.S., but not with five exits and two lanes! Our directions said take M18, but little did we know that M18 and N18 are one and the same.

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