Driving in Ireland the most common speed limit is 100 kph or about 62 mph. This is down a road that is so narrow the tall green hedge on each side of the road has a small notch cut out of it where the automobile side view mirrors snap off the branches. Certainly road crews do some major trimming from time to time, but these mirror notches are a common sight. These vines and hedges make the narrow roads even more precarious as they encroach over the roadway. Beneath these hedges and vines are not just more plants but solid rock walls just waiting to rip your car frame apart. Around hairpin turns, one lane bridges and 90-degree turns, the speed limit remains 100kph. Sometimes the words “GO MALL” will be painted in the road, which means to go slow in Gaelic, but still no posted reduction in the speed limit.
Residential driveway entrances are on the left and right and around every turn, still 100kph. Hikers with backpacks, bicyclists, open range with cattle and sheep on the road, residents walking their dogs in the street since there are no sidewalks or shoulders, still 100kph. Many times I was driving 1/3 the speed limit and that still seemed fast. Large oncoming diesel trucks (lorries) and farm tractors hauling hay add to the excitement. Horn honking is surprisingly absent as everyone seems quite tolerant of others.
As you can imagine, I’d often have someone on my tail. One tactic used somewhat successfully was to pull over at a wide spot in the road and let the faster driver pass. I quickly pulled back on the road and did my best to keep up with them, speeding down the twisting road. Eventually, they’d out run me and I was back to the slow, cautious pace once again. I think back to the original rental of this car. I requested a compact, but upon arrival at the rental agency, they told me “Good News” we have upgraded you to a larger car. I now know that was no favor and regret not knowing at the time to refuse this upgrade to a wider, larger vehicle.