I’d like to start out by saying that these really are the roads I drive on – every day. I didn’t go out of my way to photograph the worst examples. One day on the drive home from school, I pulled over a couple of times & took photos. The boys thought I’d gone crazy. lol
Being from New York, I never gave the roads much consideration. I drove on them to get where I was going & that was it. I remember when I first met my husband in New York, he would always compliment the roads. How they were such great roads. I just shrugged it off & nodded thinking, ya, okay. Well, now I get it! Boy, do I get it!
For starters, the roads are the width of one car yet they are two-way roads. If you’re not from the west of Ireland, you are probably asking yourself – what do you do if a car is coming the other way around that corner? Well, hopefully, both cars are going slowly & you both break – quickly. Then one person has to reverse their car to a pull in spot. The pull in spot is a wide spot in the road. It might be a driveway, a farmer’s gate or a wide spot that has been specially created. A backup sensor like this would probably be useful when driving these roads!
So, I reverse my car & allow the other car to drive past me through a wide spot like this one.
That’s actually one of the nicer spots to pull in believe it or not. The next pull in spot is good & wide if you don’t mind your car getting covered in muck.
These are main roads, not driveways or side roads. And yes, they really are two-way roads. These are the roads everyone drives to bring the kids to school, go to town, attend church etc.
When I first moved here, I would be a nervous wreck after driving the 3 miles to town. I was so afraid I’d meet another car coming straight at me. Because I was a newbie, I didn’t know where the wide spots were on the road. So, I never knew if I should reverse or if it was up to the other car. I still find it nerve-wracking driving these roads.
On top of being narrow, the roads aren’t cared for. They aren’t properly surfaced, drained or maintained. The rain causes the roads to flood because there isn’t any drainage system to take the water off the roads. The water sits on the road & causes gigantic potholes to form. There is absolutely no way to drive down these road without hitting a pothole.
These road conditions don’t exist all over Ireland. When we travel to the midlands or to Dublin, the roads are proper roads where you get your own lane to drive in, a smooth surface & no massive pot holes or flooding on them. What’s worse is that I pay 800 euros tax per year for the pleasure of driving my car on these roads. I don’t know how the tax is distributed but it certainly isn’t coming to improve roads in the west of Ireland.
That’s not to say I don’t love the Irish countryside in the west of Ireland. It’s absolutely stunning & I’m in awe of its beauty every day – the rugged, wild country. And, it’s a wonderful place to raise our family. But, the roads could do with a serious upgrade.
For more about life in Ireland, read my take on a unique aspect of Irish culture in Understanding the Irish No.
What kind of roads do you drive on?