Saturday, September 29, 2012

Last night Dale and I turned in the car, so I thought that I would make a few comments about driving in Ireland (although I didn't drive at all).  First, driving on the opposite side of the road (driving on the left not on the right) in never referred to as driving on the "wrong side of the road."  It is not "wrong" but "different" according to the Irish people we have met.  I would like to add the adjectives "weird" and "disconcerting" to the description.  I found it just unnatural.  There are a lot of weird things associated with driving on the "different" sides of the road.  For example, the escalators are opposite as well (the normal up side is down and the reverse).  As a pedestrian you have to look in the opposite way when crossing streets.  The Irish acknowledge this problem by painting "Look Right" and "Look Left" on the crosswalks.  In addition, the whole issue of driving on the different side of the road is compounded  by the really narrow roads.  As the driver, it looks like cars in the opposite direction are about to plow into you, so you have a tendency to cheat toward the curb on the left.  With the narrow roads though, you end up on the shoulder and worse.  We had a small incident, that will never be spoken of, but we survived. There are other questions that remain unanswered like...Are motorcycle sidecars on the opposite side?  Are golf cart or tractor steering  wheels on the opposite side?  The thing that is the most interesting to me though is, that on the sidewalk, pedestrians walk on the right, not on the left, opposite to the way the Irish drive.  So, it seems to me that if the Irish don't drive on the "wrong" side, they drive on the "unnatural" side.

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