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Old 06-19-2015, 09:05 AM   #41
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definitely get an automatic. the stick shift is on the "wrong" side... it also frees up a hand to cover your eyes on some of the very narrow roads when a truck is coming at you and you have no place to go except as close to the stone fence as you can....
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:04 AM   #42
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I second the don't drive if you are tired.
In the 1990's, when my late wife & I were Rv'ing, we spent a little time at a Vancouver area campground - one of the RV rental companies, whose seasonal clients were primarily German or Dutch, was obliged, (due to the number of accidents), to institute a program wherein the renters, (who often arrived en masse on charter flights), were taken to the campground, given access to the RVs (but not the keys), upon arrival, and were not permitted to leave until the following morning after familiarization lessons.

I spoke to one of the company's reps, who explained that patrons had previously been arriving tired, in totally unfamiliar surroundings, and were put behind the wheels of vehicles larger than most of them had ever driven in their lives.....mayhem ensued.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:12 AM   #43
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It really wasn't hard except going through intersections and panic situations. ...Make sure you understand the rules of the road expecially round a bouts. ...
It's pretty easy once you do it for a while. Just remember that the driver is next to the centerline. Roundabouts were the most difficult part for me.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:26 AM   #44
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I lived in Ireland for about 8 months. First, try to get a small, tiny car if you can. Since some of those roads are so narrow near Kerry, you will likely be thanking as else you will damage your rental car.. there just is too much brush in areas if you have someone coming in the other direction. I had a company car and it was huge which made parking almost impossible some days as the lines are narrower too as they gave us like the largest car possible and well the cow lanes are just not that wide.


The suggestion of thinking of yourself in the middle is the best suggestion.. driving always requires the driver to be in "danger" if they go over the line..


Also note, in the middle of Ireland (if you cross from Dublin to Kerry) most of the signs are in Gaelic...and you will come across signs where there is literally 100 signs to each town I think in the whole country... so great suggestion about having a physical map.. and make sure it shows towns in both Gaelic and English.


You will get use to it, its not too difficult as long as you keep these things in mind. I loved all my time there, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip.
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:07 PM   #45
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Make special arrangement for automatic if that's what you usually drive. And be especially careful in parking lots and pulling out into streets this is where I usually slipped out of " left hand side mode"
Exactly. In fact, it was this very thing that almost caused me to take out a fire hydrant while exiting the airport in Scotland minutes after I'd taken delivery of my rental car. IMMEDIATE change of plans! Nuts to my original itinerary, I headed straight for the countryside and spent the next three days enjoying rural Scotland and staying at farm B&Bs until the whole left-hand drive thing began to feel "normal". Only then did I head for the big city (Edinburgh) and things worked quite well from that point onward.

I know someone advised to "think left" and I certainly agree. I'll add that in congested areas, plan your route to make "all left-hand turns", exactly the opposite of what you might do here. It similarly reduces the number of times you'll have to cross lanes of traffic.

I've taken several subsequent driving vacations in left-hand drive countries and they were much less intimidating than that first initiation.

Have fun!
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:47 PM   #46
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Rent a small car - a really small car. The worst part for me was driving on a narrow road with a stone wall as the "shoulder" and a giant truck or bus approaching in the other direction. Did I say: rent a small car?
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:51 PM   #47
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My word of warning is that the GPS we used on our last trip liked to send us down VERY narrow roads, sometimes just ruts in the ground out west. Staying on the left wasn't too hard to remember, but the sense of worry given I KNOW how fast some people drive on the less than 2 car wide roads was there a lot of the time. And the GPS didn't know about some of the new highway construction (this was back in 2010) so it got confused when we were driving back to Dublin.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:25 PM   #48
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Beware of fast drivers on boreens like this one. They are scrapping the (ridiculous) speed limits, because they seem to encourage people to speed up, not down.

Big changes to speed limits on country roads | BreakingNews.ie
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:13 AM   #49
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As of yesterday, I just finished putting over 1,000 miles on a rental car in England and Scotland. Compact, stick shift diesel, and I was very pleasantly surprised at the great gas mileage. Just a tick under 60 mpg by my calculation.

The downside is that on tiny country roads even a compact car can seem huge. In places, there was only room for one car (not even a truck), and when we encountered someone coming from the other direction, it sometimes required one of us to back up quite a few yards until there was space to pass each other.

Another problem is that GPS (or "sat nav" as they call it) can sometimes send you down those incredibly tiny lanes, so you have to learn to ignore it.

I really don't have a problem with the right hand drive, and stick shifts are easy for me, but the very, very narrow roads are uncomfortable in the extreme for me.
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:56 AM   #50
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An incident on our drive through Ireland a couple decades ago comes to mind.

We were driving through a seaside resort town in late spring during what the locals called the "bank holiday weekend." The place was packed with traffic, crawling through narrow streets lined with parked -- and double-parked -- cars (the Irish take pride in their anarchic parking ethics). A lot of time there was a foot or less of breathing room between our rental car and our fellow motorists passing in the other direction.

We eventually escaped the snarl and breathed a sigh of relief. I glanced at the side-view mirror on my door, and discovered it had been folded back. We must have touched mirrors with an oncoming car.

Fortunately the mirror on our car was undamaged. Hope the other guy had similar results.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:30 AM   #51
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most of the signs are in Gaelic...and you will come across signs where there is literally 100 signs to each town
"You need direction, yeah you need a name
When you're standing in the crossroads every highway looks the same
After a while you can recognize the signs
So if you get it wrong you'll get it right next time.."


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Old 06-20-2015, 11:30 AM   #52
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As of yesterday, I just finished putting over 1,000 miles on a rental car in England and Scotland. Compact, stick shift diesel, and I was very pleasantly surprised at the great gas mileage. Just a tick under 60 mpg by my calculation.

The downside is that on tiny country roads even a compact car can seem huge. In places, there was only room for one car (not even a truck), and when we encountered someone coming from the other direction, it sometimes required one of us to back up quite a few yards until there was space to pass each other.

Another problem is that GPS (or "sat nav" as they call it) can sometimes send you down those incredibly tiny lanes, so you have to learn to ignore it.

I really don't have a problem with the right hand drive, and stick shifts are easy for me, but the very, very narrow roads are uncomfortable in the extreme for me.
The VW Golf manual diesel TDI we rented in the UK and drove to Ireland had mpg as good as our Prius. We had it for 6 weeks, in all sorts of driving conditions. Very impressed with it.

I can't emphasize enough the advice to have paper maps and check where your GPS is going to take you as it will direct you down the tiniest, most unsuitable roads. In Cornwall we followed the GPS going to Tintagel Castle and not only did it direct us down tiny 1 lane roads bounded by dry-stone walls it was obvious that there were plenty of others blindly following their GPS directions. Backing up tiny roads to find passing places is bad enough in itself but when there are several cars ahead and behind it really is a nightmare. ( we checked our map before we came back from Tintagel Castle and couldn't understand why the heck the GPS had used the tiny, unsuitable, roads it recommended, so we ignored it and used "real" roads)
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:09 PM   #53
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I booked a 3 week trip to New Zealand for February.

The itinerary I have in mind would include renting a car and it would be my first time driving on the wrong side of the road.

Am feeling some trepidation, though I haven't planned anything other than the plane tickets.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:57 PM   #54
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I can't emphasize enough the advice to have paper maps and check where your GPS is going to take you as it will direct you down the tiniest, most unsuitable roads.
A delightfully pithy and useful conversation last week, the first time this happened to us:

Turned around (with difficulty) when the narrow lane turned into a dirt sheep trail, and found a local woman out gardening.

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Can you direct us to the XYZ Inn? We seem to have turned on the wrong road.

Are you using satnav?

Yes.

Don't.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:36 PM   #55
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LOL!

I noticed a lot of inns, etc., have directions and often say "don't use the GPS!". There are usually a bunch of gotchas.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:46 PM   #56
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I really don't have a problem with the right hand drive, and stick shifts are easy for me, but the very, very narrow roads are uncomfortable in the extreme for me.
Have you driven a right side with a stick before this? Shifting with the left hand seems pretty distracting when one is already trying to focus on staying on the proper side.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:31 PM   #57
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Great story braumeister!

The site where I worked in Louisiana was always wrong in everyone's GPS, Google Maps, Mapquest etc. Following any of those directions had them turning right when they hit the Mississippi river at Hwy 75 instead of left. We always had to remember to give folks the correct directions, otherwise we'd be getting calls saying they couldn't find us.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:58 PM   #58
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The itinerary I have in mind would include renting a car and it would be my first time driving on the wrong other side of the road.
Fixed that for you.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:26 AM   #59
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Have you driven a right side with a stick before this? Shifting with the left hand seems pretty distracting when one is already trying to focus on staying on the proper side.
I've done it before, and never found it too difficult.

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The site where I worked in Louisiana was always wrong in everyone's GPS, Google Maps, Mapquest etc.
I was amused a couple of years ago when driving up to Detroit for the NEXUS interview. There was a big notice on their website that you should not use GPS under any circumstances, but follow their specific written directions to the office. Due to a lot of construction activity in the area, that was very good advice.
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:11 AM   #60
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Have you driven a right side with a stick before this? Shifting with the left hand seems pretty distracting when one is already trying to focus on staying on the proper side.
The most difficult part for me was trying to remember to not to slam my right arm into the door when trying to change gear. After 43 years of driving only manuals in the US, old habits die hard.
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