Ireland: Day Three (driving)

Since I’d been to Dublin before, I had its basic geography in my head and could navigate around pretty easily.  But today, we moved into new territory: driving. 

We took the bus back to the airport where we picked up our rental car–they gave me an Audi–and I spent forever trying to figure out all the bells and whistles. I think fully half the time was spent trying to release the electronic parking brake. And then it was time to head out. 

I drive a manual transmission every day at home, and it comes second-nature to me. But shifting with my left hand felt really awkward. I couldn’t dwell on it too long, though, because I had to focus on staying on the left and following unfamiliar traffic signs. On the motorway, I found myself drifting to the left in my lane, I guess because visually I’m used to seeing the road from the left side. So I had to make a conscious effort to move further right. 

And then I had to navigate my first (and second, third, fourth, and fifth) roundabout. Actually these are pretty easy–I found traffic lights and turn lanes far more confusing. Which is weird. 

We took a detour to a town called Newbridge to see if I could claim my free birthday Starbucks, but alas we couldn’t locate it. Then Kildare was just a few more minutes down the motorway. Three roundabouts and a right turn, then a tight squeeze into a parking space, and we were at the Five Jockeys pub to pick up our race numbers. Because of course it’s at a pub. 😉 

The hotel where we’re staying was only a block or so further down the road–the race starts basically in front of the place–and after a brief trip around the block I scored a parking space I could navigate into reasonably well. Now I think the car will stay there for a while. Which is fine because it reeks of smoke. I cracked the windows–maybe it will air out some before I need to drive it again. 

Did I mention central Ireland is having something of a heat wave? It’s in the high 70s today; overnight it’s supposed to drop into the 50s, but the half-marathon starts at 10:30, and the hour-by-hour forecast predicts it will jump into the 60s by then. Fantastic. So I’ve lowered my expectations for this race juuuuuuust a bit. 

We’ll see in the morning, I guess.