A trip to Ireland

In April, I’m headed to Ireland on a family vacation. Where should I go? How should I prepare?

I’m availing myself of gamification. This Sporcle quiz is good for learning the 32 counties: Can you name the counties of Ireland? Apparently everybody always forgets about poor old County Longford.

Audible is helping me with my James Joyce classics: Dubliners and Ulysses. I’m not surprised, but it’s still cool to see the various Google Maps-based resources for following Leopold Bloom around Dublin, especially Walking Ulysses from Boston College.

Anybody want to recommend a good book on Irish history?

We’re renting a car, so I’m facing the prospect of shifting with my left hand, sitting on the right, driving on the left. Preparatory to this, I’m using Google Earth and Google Maps to get a feel for the roads I’ll be on. I’m told that the roads are so narrow that most of the time it hardly matters, but to me this seems worse, since you’ll come up on someone and have to remember by to veer quickly to the left, not right. So that should be fun. It would be nice to use the iPhone to help with maps, but I’m not sure if using the international data roaming is worthwhile. Are there temporary plans that make it worth doing?

I should point out that, although I sound completely clueless, I am already relying on the best possible travel resource. My wife researches and plans the trip, and I say “Where are we going today?”

3 thoughts on “A trip to Ireland”

  1. If re-enacting famous walks, you could do a mathematical one – Hamilton’s stroll, stopping off to discover quaternions. But really, you should leave Dublin behind and head west to the coast and the hills. There’s a different kind of walking, some very accessible (Diamond Hill, Abbey Hill) and some not.

    Offmaps is a nice google maps-like app that lets you download the maps in advance.

  2. I rented a car in the west and drove to dublin. The hard thing isn’t shifting with the left hand, it’s shifting AND SIGNALING with the left. You never realize just how convenient it is to signal left and shift right until you have to double-task. Watch out for the fancifully-painted sheep in the road.

    The Cliffs of Moher, the Rock of Cashel, and Newgrange are well-known and quite rewarding. My favorite place in Ireland is the old monastery of Glendalough. Beautiful hiking high up in the mountains over the lake, and the bus tours only stay for 20 minutes so it is quiet most of the time.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ireland/county-wicklow/glendalough

  3. Sure and won’t you be visitin’ Doolin? It’s the music capital of all Ireland.
    Now, we rented a car and initially I was terrified that I’d plow into people, cars, baby buggies and just about anything else. The city turned out to be a lot less difficult since you are constantly reminded that YOU ARE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD, OH JEEESUS LOOK OUT FOR THAT CAR! Once we got that figured out, we proceeded to wear about 30,000 miles off the clutch on our way out West.
    Pro Tip: When you see a sign that says “Loose Chippings”, slow down. The little rocks they use to cover the roadbed when they are working on it are great at “chipping” windscreens.(start using their words now)

    Anyway, in the West of Ireland they have roadways that they call roads. You might know them as Bike Paths in America. It was like a real life video game, with my friend Alan announcing the levels based on what kind of vehicle was approaching: Delivery truck- Level 6. Cement truck-Level 8. TOUR BUS- Level 10.
    Needless to say, thank god I used to drink back then.

    I’m sure you’ll be fine.

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