The Emerald Isle Night 1

023I could see the Emerald Isle from the window. The sky looked blue, everything looked green. I was ready for a week with the Irish. I made made my way to immigration where there was honestly no one in line. It reminded me of New Zealand, and I instantly thought, “I already love this place.” I showed the lady my passport, and I don’t know what it was. Maybe my backpack, my shortness, because I am an American, because I had been to 3 continents since November (which I think is rad by the way). Whatever the reason, the Irish immigration lady did not like me, and she accosted me with questions. “Keelie, when was the last time you were in the US?” “How are you paying for all your travel?” When do you plan on going back to the US? What have you been doing in the UK since January? Where have you been staying in the UK? Oh with family (insert eye roll). What are you doing in Ireland? Where will you be staying? When are you leaving Ireland? “I’m leaving in a week,” I replied. Show me your flight out of Ireland!! I pulled it out. Then she asked how much money I had saved for my trip, and how I earned this money. She begrudgingly stamped my passport and I was allowed entry into Ireland. But at this point I’m now thinking. Do I want to be here? I made my way to the car rental place and agreed to two upgrades. One from manual to automatic, and the other for the insurnace. I was feeling nervous about driving on the left and didn’t want to take any chances. I got on the freeway and was on my way to Cork. I thought I was doing pretty good. GPS was working, and freeway driving is easy. I wasn’t going extremely fast, but I also wasn’t sure what the speed limit was. It was a two lane freeway, and I was crusing in the right lane, which would be our slow lane in the US.  The man behind me kept flashing his lights and putting on his blinker. I panicked. What is wrong with my car. Is something hanging from it? Is it about the explode? What is wrong? Then he got in the left lane and sped up next to me and kept staring. What did I do to piss this guy off? Is he going to run me off the road? What is wrong with my car? He sped off. Then another car came up to me, and this guy sped up, zoomed into my lane and slammed on his brakes. All while he had his left blinker on. Then I remembered a conversation I had with Karen. The right lane is used only for passing. You don’t drive in it. So the entire time there was nothing wrong with my car. These people just wanted me to go back to the left lane. I moved over no probelm. But my driving woes weren’t over yet. I saw a sign for Killkenny. Oh! I love that beer. Lets check it out. Benefits of having a car. So I got off the freeway and went to Killkenny. It ended up being a 50 kilometer detour but oh well. I noticed I kept drifing to the left side of the road. I kept driving over the warning bumps. The road to Killkenny was narrow and had a lot of pot holes on the side. I also kept hitting those. But the extent of my drifting didn’t really kick in until I got into town. The roads were narrow, there were cars coming at me and cars parked on my left. My rearview mirror folded in. I side swiped something. I just don’t know what. And then it happened again. I was mortified. I had only been driving for maybe 2 hours and I already wrecked the car . When I parked in Killkenny I assed the damage. I popped my rear view mirror back out, and my car was dirty. But that was it really. From then on I made a concious effort to hug the center lane. When I was driving through Dublin near the end of my trip, the car in front of me kept hugging the left line, and would actually drift over it slightly sometimes. Rookie left side driver I mumbled. I made it to Cork no problem, and with about 1/2 hour left of daylight. It had been a long first day in Ireland. I made dinner and went to the pub for some Guinness. There was a soccer game on, and the pub filled up quickly. Two pints later I was full, and feeling a slight buzz. I retired for the night. Big day tomorrow. I was going to Blarney Castle and then to Killarney. Let the Irish road trip begin!

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