My first day of driving on the left side of the road, shifting with my left hand, looking for my mirrors in all the wrong places, was very disorienting, to say the least. I’m not used to feeling anxious at the wheel. I love driving!
Staying to the left is the easy part. I don’t even mind the roundabouts. The hard part is keeping track of the left/ passenger side of the car. The lack of spatial awareness on that side is weird. The roads here are so narrow that I often have to pull off the road to let oncoming cars by and I’m terrified I’m going to knock off the left hand mirror, or worse. Thankfully, I sprung for full coverage on the rental car. Hopefully I won’t have to use it, but it does definitely give me some much needed peace of mind.
I will say, Irish drivers are amazingly patient. Not one person has honked at me, let alone flipped me off, even though I’ve definitely deserved it a few times. My car has a big rental company sticker across the rear window, which might as well say “Confused Tourist- Keep Clear!”
By day two, I was feeling much better – maybe I needed to sleep on it? – which was a very good thing because my plan was to drive up the Antrim Coast on the notoriously twisty, narrow A2. This drive is renowned for being one of the best coastal routes in the world and it didn’t disappoint. I ended the day by hiking out to Torr Head, site of an abandoned Coastguard station, within view of Scotland, and then Fair Head, a cliff top promontory overlooking Rathlin Island.