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Carol Perkins: Driving tour of Ireland, Part I

Husband is a good driver. But driving in Dublin on the "wrong" side of the road created would problems . . .
Next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Mother Nature is my gardener

By Carol Perkins

Guy is a good driver. He has driven thousands and thousands of miles because his job requires travel. If a person can drive through Atlanta, he can drive anywhere. However, there is a vast difference between Atlanta and Dublin where we landed for our "driving tour" through Ireland, a trip he had wanted to take for years and the home of my father, Henry Sullivan.

My first concern was that Guy would be driving on the "wrong" side of the road. "No problem," he said. Next, the stirring wheel was on the "wrong" side of the car. "I can adapt," he assured me. I trusted that he could, but I was still nervous.

We arrived in Dublin at five in the morning and by 6:00 we were in our rental car headed toward our hotel, located in the busiest section of the city. As we departed, the clouds opened with a slight drizzle. "Where are the wipers? I can't find the wipers!" he said in a panic. He was trying to navigate with no vision while I was listening to the GPS speak "Irish" when the drizzle turns into a downpour. Suddenly, we came to a very long tunnel that allowed him to see the highway and by some miracle find the wipers.

Not knowing if we were even going in the right direction, he continued straight ahead, which led to a toll booth. He drove through an open lane only to discover no one was attending that booth, and because we had no Euros to toss in the basket, he had no choice but to back up and go to another one. As he was backing this small version of an SUV, I heard an unmistakable sound of metal scraping metal. He had just sideswiped the passenger side of the car against a barricade. We continued toward the city without looking at the damage. By then, I had gripped my door handle so tightly my knuckles were throbbing.

There are no street signs in Dublin. I should say there are none as we see them in the states; signs were posted on sides of buildings and in the rain, impossible to see. Therefore, we couldn't find our hotel; so Guy asked five people (a garbage collector we stumbled upon down an alley, a taxi driver, a pedestrian, a garage attendant, and a delivery man.) He would get out, listen to the directions, and then come back to the car and say, "I couldn't understand a word he said."

As we circled the same statue at least five times, a cab driver pulled up beside us and pointed to our bumper. I rolled down the window. "You're going to lose it." Guy had already "Lost it!" but not the bumper. He found a place to pull over, popped the bumper back into place and observed just a small scratch that he hoped would go unnoticed.
Finally, traveling down a cobblestone street at seven in the morning, we stumbled upon our hotel. Naturally, we couldn't check in that early, so we unloaded, had breakfast, and by nine we were on a Hop-on and Hop-off tour of the city. We didn't hop on or off! When that tour ended, we checked into the hotel-dead tired. "Let's rest a little while and then we have reservations for Irish storytelling and dinner," I said setting my phone alarm.

We woke up at midnight, rolled over, and didn't wake up until the next morning. Guy said, "I didn't want to do that anyway!" I don't remember turning off the phone.

By then, our thirteen-year-old grandson, Luke, knew he was on an adventure with his grandparents he would never forget.

(Continued next week)

My new book, A Girl Named Connie, is available on Amazon, the Lighthouse Restaurant, and the Edmonton/Metcalfe Chamber of Commerce office.

Carol Perkins is a regular weekly columnist and a co-host with Susan Chambers on the very popular The "Susan & Carol, Unscripted" show, live. FM 99.1 radio each Tuesday Morning at 10amCT.

This story was posted on 2016-06-22 09:20:24
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Luke and Grandfather Guy Perkins: An adventure of a lifetime

2016-06-30 - Ireland - Photo by Carol Perkins.
When the driving trip through Ireland started, Carol Perkins writes, "Our thirteen-year-old grandson, Luke, knew he was on an adventure with his grandparents he would never forget." Above, Luke and Guy. Photo by Carol Perkins.

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