Myth #1: “You can’t walk it!”
We loved asking local people for directions in Ireland. Nine times out of a dozen they’d say “It’s LIT-tralee down the block.”
We concluded Irish people aren’t big walkers after several swore “You’ll never walk it!” or “You can’t walk there – it’s way out on the Dublin Road!” and when we followed their directions it would turn out to be an enjoyable half-hour walk.
We did meet a group of serious walkers on the Burren. They’re called ramblers in Ireland. Don’t be misled. They don’t ramble! This group overtook us on a steep incline, leaving us in their dust. We finally caught up to them—only because they stopped for a picnic.
“Will you have a piece of cake?” they asked.
We love the Irish!
Myth #2: In Ireland, they drive on the left.
Fact: Many Irish L-roads have no left or right. They’re barely wide enough for one car. People drive in the middle. Rapidly. Pedestrians walk on the right. And pray.
Myth #3: If you want to see Ireland properly, you’ll need a car.
A lot of people told us we’d need a car to get around Ireland. We looked into renting one. Then we got there and saw the roundabouts. Not the occasional single-lane basic roundabouts we have here in Canada. Complicated ones that make your head spin.
As if the roundabouts weren’t enough, the Irish countryside is a maze of skinny winding roads between stone walls. We quickly realized you’d never see a thing from the passenger seat, and the driver would end up a basket case.
Bus Éireann’s Open Road passes took us everywhere we wanted to go. Not only did we sit up high enough to enjoy the view, we witnessed some impressive driving skills.
We grew fond of the recorded voice that played repeatedly at every stop: Please stand clear! Luggage door operatin’.
So, with our backpacks stowed behind the luggage door, we waved goodbye to our beloved Athlone and headed for the Wild Atlantic Way.