A Swiss family's Irish holiday: going outside the Pale
The Stoy family are spending two weeks in Ireland. They have now left Dublin, and have become acquainted with our major tourist attractions, drivers and rural roadsignsON DRIVING
Guido:On Thursday we rented a Peugeot minivan. At the beginning I might drift on to the righthand side of the road, but Maria would direct me back and I got used to it quite quickly. Driving in Ireland has turned out to be not very difficult.
There are some risky drivers who drive quite fast and overtake even on narrow streets. There are also drivers who drive extremely slowly for no obvious reason and create a traffic jam behind them.
There is one thing we have noticed: The names of places are sometimes in Irish and sometimes in English, and sometimes have different spellings. They might also be written differently on different maps, and my navigation system didn’t know some of them either. There are many new roads, some of them not even known by my navigation system. So this caused us to have a little diversion but it wasn’t too bad.
We have noticed that the price of fuel varies quite significantly, sometimes 10c between one station and the next, even if they are quite close by. I don’t understand why this could be.
ON IRISH HERITAGE
Guido:On Thursday we visited Glendalough in Co Wicklow. There was a video and a multimedia show. It was very good quality, we thought.
There was also a very good offer for a family ticket. This is supposed to be for two adults and two kids under 12, but they allowed us to use the same ticket for our kids, although there are three of them and they are all over 12. This was a good gesture and made the visit not too expensive.
Bea:On Thursday I liked very much the landscape and nature in Glendalough. It was like I expected Ireland.
The next day I liked the restored historical sites at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. The guided tours were very informative, with some humour and in easy language.
On Saturday we visited a castle in Kilkenny, which was renovated very well. We got a German information paper that was interesting and easy to understand. I didn’t like the guided tour at the Hill of Tara because it was too long and the explanations were complicated.
Maria: With almost all the ancient sites we have seen in these last few days there were old graveyards and tombs of all kinds. It made me aware of how far back people have lived here in Ireland and that even thousands of years back they were able to create amazing buildings that still exist today, like the tombs in Newgrange that are older than the pyramids.
There have been so many different people here in Ireland, and now it’s our time to enjoy this beautiful land.
Enya:At Newgrange and Knowth, the tours were very interesting and, although some were long, I never had problems following them until the end. The tour guides and busdrivers were very friendly. A lot of exhibitions (at Newgrange and Knowth but also at Glendalough) seemed to be new and were nicely made and interesting for children.