on the left

Getting used to the left-hand traffic didn’t take me as long as I expected too. After a few weeks in Ireland it was already normal for me to look on right instead of left when crossing the street. I also stopped confusing driver and front-seat passenger and so it didn’t frighten me anymore when a child or dog sat on the left seat in the passing car.

Carla smiling even though she sits on the left as co-driver

However, driving on the left side of the road is not the only peculiarity of Irish traffic. Pedestrians in particular, have a number of unwritten rights as they literally do whatever they want. For example, traffic lights don’t have a purpose when you’re walking – they’re rather seen as guidelines. Nobody waits to cross the street unless a car is closer than ten meters.

On top of that, crosswalks are more or less ignored. If you have to cross over at a particular spot, you will do it immediately – regardless of the fact that there is a crosswalk 50 meters further ahead. In the beginning, I tried to walk in the “proper Austrian manner” and waited till the green man appeared. Anyway, after some time and judgy looks by pass-byers, I eventually adapted to the local behavior and crossed the streets like there was no tomorrow.

Narrow, windy roads - but scenic af

rollercoaster ride

Apart from that, the Irish government is slightly obsessed with roundabouts. Especially in suburbs and smaller cities. You can find a great number of them and a drive almost feels like a roller-coaster ride. Due to the left-hand driving you also have to enter the roundabout clockwise which honestly freaked me out the first time – the thought of it still feels wrong.

However, the further you go into the countryside the narrower and more adventurous the roads get. The western coast is particularly bad, you can find a lot of spots where it is impossible for two cars pass each other – especially when there is the sea on side and a cliff on the other. Furthermore, the roads there are often just built along to the terrain without smoothing them out. Thus, it goes constantly up and down, and god bless people who get car sick.

Even narrower and windier - but almost majestic

chapter overview


A digital book on studying in Ireland
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