It’s a very good thing that traffic in Ireland is pretty much like here in the United States. Opposed, say, to Rome, where they drive like lunatics and park (as Bill Bryson says) like they spilled a beaker of hydraulic acid on their laps.

Traffic on an Irish road

In Ireland they tend to drive carefully and park almost normally. With some careful study of how they handle roundabouts and write traffic signs, Eric was all set to go.

The fact that they drive on the other side of the road didn’t bother him a bit. He relished the challenge. It was like the Olympic event for men who like impossible driving.

An Irish driver's seat

I, on the other hand, thought for sure we were going to die in a fiery crash. It took almost a week before I realized oncoming traffic was going to stay where they belonged, and not cross into our path and send us straight to our eternal rewards from a Renault.

Since Eric was the superstar driver (I don’t say that lightly– the man even managed perfect parallel parking in tiny Irish parking spaces), I was the navigator. I had a lap full of maps and our little phone in case things got dicey. I tried to navigate as much as possible from the paper map, because sometimes I like to pretend it’s still 1988 and technology hasn’t yet taken over our lives.

a paper map of Ireland

(Also, overusing data on an international excursion can cause bankruptcy. We didn’t want to chance that.)

But sometimes the rural roads got the best of us and we had to resort to the blue dot on Google. You can read a map all you want, but if you don’t know where you actually are, the map is not so helpful.

We kept running into these intersections that didn’t quite meet up. Five roads would come to a general meeting area, but it was hard to tell if we should go slightly to the left or slightly to the right.

The blue dot would move along the road we had chosen, showing us exactly where we were and where we were headed. Without that blue dot we would still be somewhere in the Irish countryside, sleeping with the cows, too lost to ever find our way back to America.

I find I need a little blue dot in my regular life, too. I need a moral compass, a way to tell exactly when I’m on or off track. For me, that blue dot is the Bible. It’s where I go to find truth. It’s where I go to remind myself I’m not as important as I think I am. It’s where I go when I don’t know what to do, or when I do know what to do but need a little kick in the pants to do it.

I can’t make up my own personal code of ethics any more than I can tell which road takes me to Cork. I believe in absolute truth, and that is a far different thing than Jessie Decides What’s Best.

I’ve found my blue dot for life. What about you?

But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17, NLT)

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5 Comments on Ireland: The Distance Between Here and There Is Sort of Backwards

  1. David
    October 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm (2 years ago)

    I had to laugh at this one because I got lost in Ireland today – with a local driver who came off a junction early and then took a wrong turn before encountering a closed bridge, before finally resorting to the blue dot. We lost an hour. That meant that when we arrived at our hotel after the afternoon audit there were two bus loads of Japanese tourists checking in ahead of us.

    I like the idea of the blue dot for life. Easy to remember at times when I feel lost. Thank you Jessie.

  2. Jessie Clemence
    October 6, 2015 at 4:36 pm (2 years ago)

    When we were shopping in Adare a busload of Asian tourists (Chinese, perhaps) was shopping with us. I stopped looking at the merchandise and just watched them– somehow the culture clash was just hilarious.

    I’m glad the blue dot got you back on track!

  3. David
    October 6, 2015 at 4:37 pm (2 years ago)

    I feel asleep at one point. But I have been up since 05:00.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    October 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm (2 years ago)

    I feel your pain. That was our family on Sunday. By the time we got into bed at 9pm Michigan time, I felt like a Japanese bus of tourists had hit me.

  5. memyselfandkids.com
    October 6, 2015 at 9:23 pm (2 years ago)

    Glad you’ve been able to get around Ireland. Kudos to Eric – I think it would be tough for me to adjust to the whole opposite side thing.