When my husband and I planned our summer vacation to Ireland, I have to admit, we were a bit nervous about driving the rental car. Neither of us had any experience driving on the right side of the car on the left side of the road, and only one of us was pretty good at driving a stick shift.

When my husband and I planned our summer vacation to Ireland, I have to admit, we were a bit nervous about driving the rental car. Neither of us had any experience driving on the right side of the car on the left side of the road, and only one of us was pretty good at driving a stick shift. Optimistic travelers that we are, though, we both got an international driver’s license, and we both signed our names to the rental car agreement. But when the time came to put the key in the ignition and pull the car out of the parking space, I balked.


“If you drive, there is a chance we might accidentally veer off to the right for a second before getting back on the left,” I said. “But if I drive, we will either hit a tree, a goat or set off a 10-car collision.” 


Honestly, I’m not usually so quick to admit my inability to do something. But I was so sure I would be a major hazard on the roads of Ireland and either kill ourselves, someone else or set Irish/American relations back 200 years, that I handed my husband the car key forthwith and got in the passenger seat. 


“Chicken,” he teased me.


“Realist,” I said.


“I don’t think it is such a big deal, honey,” he said as he eased himself behind the wheel. “I think it is probably a pretty quick adjustment.” Then he pulled out and drove the wrong way down a one-way street.


We were off to a rousing start.


Since most of the back roads we were taking were barely one lane, the driving on the left thing wasn’t much of an issue until another car would come toward us. Fortunately we had a system for this. I would yell “CAR,” my husband would start to pull to the right, I would yell “LEFT” and then he would yank the car to the left with such force that we would land in a ditch.


Things were going along this way swimmingly until the third day when we had to get on the motorway to get to our next destination. We had brought along our GPS to help us navigate the Irish roads. Unfortunately, she was as confused by the roundabouts as we were.


As we entered the roundabout, there were yield signs everywhere and roads veering off in six directions. Each turnoff had a sign with multiple towns listed in English and Gaelic. As if all that weren’t confusing enough, there were a bazillion cars entering the roundabout at top speeds.


“Look to the right and stay to the left,” I yelled to my husband.


“Turn left,” said the GPS.


“Which left?” said my husband. “There are six of them.”


Having to keep pace with the other cars in the roundabout, he passed the turnoffs too quickly for me to read the signs.


“Go around again,” I said.


“Turn left,” said the GPS.


“Which left?” said my husband again.


“I can’t tell, you’re going too fast,” I said.


“Rerouting,” said the GPS.  My husband went around the roundabout again.


“That looks familiar,” I said sarcastically as we came around again. “I think we have been here before.”


“Shh!” my husband said. “Which way?”


“Turn left,” said the GPS.


“Stay to the LEFT,” I yelled to my husband.


“I am on the left,” he said.


“Turn left,” said the GPS.


“Agh. There are too many lefts,” I said. 


My husband whipped around the roundabout for a fourth time and then made an executive decision and took the last left.


We suddenly found ourselves back on the road we had come from.


“Honey, we are back where we started,” I said. “We didn’t get anywhere.”


“Yes,” he said proudly. “But at least we are on the left!”


For more Lost in Suburbia, follow Tracy on Twitter @onerebelmom.