A Dad Appreciation Post
When I first told my dad that I was writing for a blog, he asked me if I’d written anything about him yet. I could practically hear the mischievous smile plastered on his face over the phone. As soon as he appeared in my “What I Know Now,” he called me up and started bragging, loudly boasting to my mom about how he had was “in a blog, and [she] wasn’t! So, HA!” For Father’s Day, I thought I’d write a whole article just for him. And what better tale could I tell than our most recent adventures of Dad driving in Ireland?
Dad Driving in Ireland
In the summer of 2017, my family and I exhaustedly stumbled off of an airplane into the Dublin International Airport in Ireland. We zombie’d our way to the Enterprise kiosk and rented the biggest car they had. My brother, my sister, and I squished ourselves into the backseat after we shoved our suitcases into the back. As we looked up, we saw Dad getting in on the right side of the car. This was a particularly weird sight because Dad is never on the right side of the car (because he always drives)! We took a moment to look at one another and laugh to ourselves how weird this was. It was time to start our Irish adventure of Dad driving in Ireland.
After a particularly stressful start of navigating out of the airport, we finally made it out to the streets of Dublin. The streets were narrow. We all wanted to press our faces to the glass but being on the wrong side of the road made it almost too terrifying to look out the window. They seemed so close. It seemed so wrong! We quickly forgot about how jetlagged we were due to terror.
As we got closer to our hotel, we started circling around the block trying to find a sign. Unfortunately, every street around the hotel was a one-way street. Eventually, my mom got out to walk around and find it. There was nowhere to pull to the side and park, so we decided to keep driving in circles as we waited for her. After the fifteenth loop around the same block, Dad decided to get a little frisky and go up a few more streets. What follows was one of the most stressful events I had ever had in my adult life:
“Hey, lets go see what’s up the next block,” said Dad.
“Sure,” we said.
Dad stopped and attempted to turn the right turn blinker on. Instead, the windshield wipers scraped across the window with a loud “SCRRRRRRRGGGG.” We all leaped into the air and yelled, “AHH!” We started giggling about how badly we had scared ourselves.
He attempted to fix his mistake, which then splashed water and caused more windshield wiping. He fumbled more and we all started cracking up. Nothing made sense in the European car. He threw his hands in the air and waited for it to calm down. Finally, the blinker was located. We turned right onto a one-way street going in the opposite direction. We all screamed for real. Dad ducked into the nearest street he could find. We still didn’t know if we were going the right way. Dad took the fastest way he could to get back to the block he had been circling for over 10 minutes. We collectively agreed that we weren’t ready to get frisky.
Narrow Streets are an Understatement
After exploring Dublin, we headed off on our Irish road trip. For the most part, Dad driving in Ireland wasn’t too bad. My siblings and I fought for the middle seat for the first time in our lives. Being near a window was too stressful. On the left side of the car, it looked like we were going to go careening into a rocky fence at any moment. On the right side of the car, it looked like we were going to go careening into oncoming traffic at any moment. The whole family held its breath with every passing car.
At some point on the journey, we found ourselves on a one-lane winding road to an abandoned castle. There were no speed limits and no way to see if there was a car coming around a nearly 180-degree turn. Every time there was a twist in the road, I could feel my hair turning gray. The journey seemed never-ending. We finally arrived and visited one of the coolest castles we saw on our trip. As far as we know, it didn’t even have a name. There was a trampled “trespassing” sign and a farmer charging people to hold his lamb at the entrance.
Driving in the Irish Countryside
A few days into our trip, we visited Galway. My sister and I picked up a pair of Irish whistles. Since we had started to feel a little more comfortable in the car, we tried to play as quietly as possible. This is extremely difficult to do, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Note: I had no idea what I was doing. Every blow into my new instrument would send a screeching pitch throughout the car. After about twenty minutes of trying to be quiet, I gave up. My dad never once said anything about my horrific whistle-playing, even as he navigated the Irish highways.
Our next stop after Galway were the Aran Islands, on the island of Inishmore. To get there, we had to leave our car and take a ferry over. But first, we had about four hours to kill. We decided to explore. We headed north and found ourselves driving through a forest speckled with gigantic wind turbines. The scenery changed as we crossed over a few bridges and began to get deeper and deeper into farmer’s territory. We were so deep that we hadn’t seen any sort of store in over an hour. The sheep no longer had fences. The simply roamed where they wanted and hung out next to the road. We had to stop as some sheep crossed to the other side. They were so close to our windows we could almost touch them.
While that was the last exciting adventure of Dad driving in Ireland, it’s a journey that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Driving in Ireland is something I would never want to do. Ever. We are so lucky that Dad put up with driving the whole trip because everyone else would have gone bald from the stress. The day before our flight to leave, he turned around in his seat with that mischievous grin and asked, “Does anyone want to try driving?”
We screamed in unison, “No!”