Ireland is a country that may be small is size, but more than makes up for its lack of land mass in adorable towns, delicious food, breathtaking scenery, and hospitable people. The first international trip that my boyfriend Tim and I ever took together was to this remarkable country, and while it was an unforgettable trip of a lifetime, there were definitely some thing we learned as first time international travelers that it would have been helpful to know before our trip began.
Here are 5 important tips for anyone looking to take a scenic drive through Ireland, from someone who has taken the very same drive.
Be Careful Driving at Night
There is very minimal lighting on Ireland’s roads, from their small, winding country roads to their main highways. At the same time, you don’t want to keep your high beams on because if someone drives around a tight corner, you could blind them with your headlights. Make sure to drive the speed limit (or even a little bit slower, if you are on a smaller road), take your turns carefully, and be on the look out of oncoming cars. They whip around tight corners pretty fast.
Don’t Underestimate a Cross-Country Drive
Sure, Ireland is the size of Maine and therefore it takes only about 3 hours to get from side to side, but a 3-hour drive can still be exhausting. Especially when you are spending those three hours navigating a new place while driving on the opposite side of the road. Because of this, be sure to plan your day around your drive, and try finding places to stop and stretch your legs or grab some food during your drive. That way, you don’t come out of the car after 3 hours of driving, too exhausted to do everything you traveled to that town for.
Don’t Rely on Just a Map & Keep Metrics in Mind
Find a way to get internet during your journey, because using a GPS will be a lot easier than relying on a map -especially if you have never been to Ireland before. Plus, all of the signs are in kilometers, so navigating highway exits can be difficult for anyone used to navigating the roads in miles.
Don’t Stick to the Schedule
Some of the most amazing things that I remember from my trip were things that we chose to visit in the moment or that popped up out of nowhere. When we were driving from Dublin to Belfast, we stumbled upon the tiny town of Slane while looking for a place to grab an authentic Irish breakfast. Though stopping in this town was not on our itinerary, going to George’s Patisserie for breakfast, visiting the Hill of Slane ruins, and stumbling across a horse farm are some of our fondest memories from the trip that we still talk about today.
Take Time to Admire the Scenery
Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth, so don’t let your drive from one town to the other distract you from the beautiful rolling hills and farmland you can see on the roads. They are filled with ancient ruins, adorable B&Bs, and picturesque greenery, and believe it or not, the highways are just as beautiful. There is not a single ugly place in Ireland, so do yourself a favor and take time to admire all of the rustic charm that covers Irelands cities, highways, and towns, because you will never see anything like it anywhere else.