A couple of weeks ago, my friend gave me the most fantastic birthday present ever. She came to visit me here in Ireland and took me for a ride in the Irish country-side.
See when I came here 4 years ago, my head was filled with post-card images of the emerald isle. I remember day-dreaming about those green fields and old cottages, fluffy sheep and farmers in fisherman jumpers and tweed as a teen. I got a bit of a reality check when I moved here as I landed in a little city in the middle of Ireland near a motorway, far, far away from looking like the picturesque photos that covered my bedroom walls. I moved to Dublin after some time and if it still wasn't like the green Ireland of my dream, it is a relatively cool city to live in. I learned from experience that the post-card side of this country is not easily attainable, the key to its discovery is driving your own car. Being useless at that, I had to resign myself to my urban fate.
But then out of the blue, my friend told me that she would visit and she would like very much to see the lakes of Connemara and the Giant's Causeway. Although, it was her first time driving on the left, she didn't lose courage and went for it like a champion. This trip was delightful and I am so happy to know a bit more of the country that I call home now.
We rode about 1000 km for 6 days, covering 2 countries (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), we stopped in 6 counties (Dublin, Clare, Galway, Donegal, Antrim and Meath), witnessed two wonders of nature (the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant's Causeway) and generally were mind-blown by the variety of landscapes that this island has to offer.
I am going to dedicate several posts to this trip, starting with this one which is about the roads and all the side stops we made because we needed to take it all in.