Posted by: bkropf | May 14, 2008

That Honk Wasn’t My Fault, Seriously

We were up early in the morning all vying for a position in the bathroom.  The thing I dislike about hostels with ensuite bathrooms is everyone has to wait in line to use the toilet and shower.  If you have communal bathrooms then everyone can share at the same time and efficiency is enhanced.  Our hostel did have some free breakfast which was nice given the internet was really expensive to use. 


We arrived at the car rental office by 10:00am and got our sweet ride, a Ford.  I quickly assigned tasks in order to safely get out of Dublin.  Heather was assigned to make sure I was on the correct side of the road, Tyler was in charge of the map and I simply tried to avoid any collisions.  Before we knew it we were on the open road only after running over one leprechaun.


What I enjoy about driving in Ireland is the speed limit.  It is set so high I never really felt like I was safe driving at the limit.  So I never had to worry about speeding because I drove at the speed I felt safe.


I did get honked at twice when I turned into the wrong side of the road (Heathers fault, she was in charge of me being in the correct lane) and for some other reason I wasn’t sure about (I’m just going to assign blame to Tyler for no reason).  I got a friendly wave once (I’m going to take credit for this) so I feel like that cancelled out one of the honks.  Someone casually flipped us off once but I think that wasn’t due to my driving more likely it was him just having a bad day (or maybe that is how Irish greet each other).


Outside of Dublin an hour there are 3 ancient burial mounds, the most famous being Newgrange and Knowth.  We stopped for the tour and it was amazing.  These mounds are older than the Egyptian pyramids at Giza. Not a whole lot to say about the mounds besides the fact they were really cool.  I saw some graffiti in one of them from the 1800’s.


On the way back to the freeway we had to dodge a couple cars on the road.  The roads are so narrow you don’t have a lane, you just share the same path.  We stopped at a little store and bought a sandwich for lunch.


Our next stop was Monasterboice, an old abbey.  Because the population was largely illiterate, large crosses were carved with Bible stories on them that the priest would use to illustrate stories and teach the people.  Monasterboice had some amazing large crosses with great carvings.  It also had a large stone tower used during Viking raids.  When raiders would come, the locals would all jump inside the tower, pull up the ladder and wait it out. Simple, yet genius…what will they think of next? Castles?


The sun broke through the clouds by this point and we were all high on our love for the sun and freedom the car provided.  This euphoria died a little when I noticed there was a 17 car trail behind me.  I was a little stressed because there were speed cameras everywhere and I didn’t want to speed but the posted speed limit seemed ridiculously slow all of a sudden and cars continued to back up.  After doing some quick mental gymnastics we came to the conclusion we had passed over the border into Northern Ireland, where the speed limit is no longer in km/h but m/h. That little fact really sorted out a lot of stress and got us to our destination much quicker.


What was our destination you might be thinking? It is the birthplace of C.S Lewis and home of politically charged tension: Belfast!!!


We were hungry after all the driving so we found our hostel and received a recommendation on the best fish and chips in town.  We ordered happily and sat waiting for our food.  The ladies working yelled some words I couldn’t understand.  I thought it might be our food so I walked up and looked at them expectantly.  They pointed at the food and asked a couple more questions I failed to decipher so I just grabbed the food and walked off hoping for the best.  The fish was amazing!!! Everything a hungry American could ever hope for.  We all relished the fish happy to be in Ireland.


I went to sleep that night with visions of fat Irish sheep jumping over fences and of Bushmill’s Wiskey being distilled in the year 1608.    



  1. The last two entries WERE better writing! Nice work! Very humorous!

  2. I think your blogs are very interesting….don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Of course I might be a little bias since I was there experiencing it all:) First of all, quit this whole blame game buddy! You were the driver, haha. There were quite a few times when I was for sure we were going to get squished by a semi-truck though! Man, 17 car hold up….what a nerd! I tried to tell you you were going too slow but no, I was just the back seat passenger 😛

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