Well the GPS Says Go This Way.

By Mark

Driving on the left side of the road wasn’t too bad; driving a stick shift was pretty painless as well, but navigating in the cities was stressful.  For the most part we had been out in the countryside and the Hertz provided GPS worked fine.  There were warning signs as we traveled down tall tree-lined lanes that there were challenges ahead.  After leaving Killarney, we wanted to visit Cork on our way to Waterford.  You will probably not believe me, but fresh Irish butter is absolutely amazing.  Seeing dairy cows everywhere eating very green grass one can understand why.  In one of our travel guides we found that Cork was the center of the Irish butter trade and there was even an Irish Butter Museum. 

The GPS started cutting out inside the narrow and fairly hilly streets. It didn’t help that many streets were blocked off for some sort of arts festival.  We knew the museum was “over that way” and finally the GPS said turn into a street.  

We followed instructions and for the first 100 feet things looked great.  Then the road appeared to get a little narrower.  I foolishly said, “Well, the road does go there, so it must be wide enough.”  The car has automatically controlled folding side mirrors and we could see that it was going to be very close.  Well the hamster mobile-a Kia Soul also has protruding front fenders and sure enough the alley was too narrow.

We scraped the side and were having trouble getting out.  Fortunately a nice young man who was renovating the building came around and extracted us. We found that a “Smart Car” was about the only thing which would actually get through as the U bend on the other side was even worse.  Thanks to everyone who recommended the full insurance coverage, I knew we would be fine, but it still was aggravating.  Oh, by the way, your Visa and MasterCard which normally cover rental insurance have specific exemptions for Ireland.  

Architecturally it was one of the prettiest we saw.  At least it was from the outside.  They were holding auditions for a new organist and were not letting anyone in.  The front door carvings were magnificent. 

Our last stop for the trip was a visit to Waterford.  The Waterford Crystal factory and showroom was very interesting.  I’ve always been fascinated by the skill needed to create works of glass. 

Their carvers apprentice for five years and then if they pass; study for another three before they are allowed to work on their own.   All of their cutting is done by hand.  This master craftsman has hundreds of patterns and cuts memorized. 

He was very brave and handed me this vase.  If they drop or ruin one it just goes back into the foundry and starts again.  They do a lot of commemorative work for sports trophies and big corporate events and art pieces as well.

Our last night in Ireland was spent with a few of the friends we had made during our travels.  It was a great vacation. 

Next week is Photoshop World in Vegas—Roger and I will be learning more things we rarely have the chance to practice.   But it is so worth the experience.