Spiddal, Ireland

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
Trip End Apr 01, 2006

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This day began with a very entertaining taxi drive to the airport, after we had checked out and left our baggage at the hotel. The taxi driver was very friendly and served as a great tour host, giving us great pointers for driving in Ireland and getting to Galway.

We arrived at the airport and found our car rental desk (SixT). They served us an upgraded car (more of a mini-van actually), and we prepared to hit the road - on the left side, of course. But not before spilling boiling hot coffee all over myself and others at the little market at the airport (something only Robb would do).

The day turned out to be amazing. As we made our way across the island nation, the sun came out and brightened the light green rolling hills, the moldy wet rock fences, and the cute little villages we passed through along the way. I guess I'm not much of a wordsmith because I can't really describe the views we shared, but I'll post some pictures from the drive.

We made it Galway in time for a late lunch, but the fish & chips at SuperMac's weren't nearly as good as the place in Dublin (Lido's - across the street from the Holiday Inn). But the food in Ireland is alot more satisfying than Italy, with real helpings of beef and potatoes back in the menu. We poked around Galway a little and then drove on to Spiddal, where we stayed in a nice little B&B (named Tuar Beag). Spiddal is very cute, and a great jumping-off point for driving the Connemera Loop (highly recommended by everyone we talked to). Since we didn't have time to drive the loop, we just explored the nearby coastline, taking in the scenery, stopping in a pub, and taking lots of pictures.

When we arrived at the B&B, the power had been out for the day (some sort of grid upgrade), which was OK for us, but the place was very cold, and never really seemed to heat up after the power came back on. We also hoped to meet the family of the B&B caretakers that evening, but they seemed too busy. We ended up grabbing a light dinner in a pub and turning in early.

Driving in Ireland was pretty intimidating at first. Laura was very helpful, and reminded me to think differently at every turn. At my age, you stop thinking when you drive, and I guess alot of Americans end up in head-on collisions driving in UK-style countries. I think the hardest thing was to keep myself in the right side of the lane - I tend to use the left side of the lane as my anchor point for positioning the vehicle. I dont know if that make sense, but anyway, trust me that it was difficult. It is also hard to get a feel of where the left side of the car is, and I think others had the same problem because this rental (and others in the lot) were banged up on the left (passenger) side.

The roads were very good, with excellent signage. It took us about 3.5 hours to trek from Dublin to Galway, and another 20 minutes to make it to Spiddal. The roadsigns could have been better in Galway, and we had to guess the correct direction at a few roundabout intersections.
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