driving in Ireland is a collaborative venture. you, those following behind you, the oncoming traffic, the tour buses, the local dogs, and the sheep. right out of Cork the road is pretty straight, with room to pass and wide enough that the oncoming coaches don’t make you quite fear for your life. things get more dramatic depending upon where you go. Galway city centre is manic (and i managed to arrive just about rush hour), but people in vehicles are predictable. even facing down tour coaches in the Ring of Kerry is somewhat predictable: they are big, and you’ll back up to make room for them if necessary.
our most harrowing experience came driving from Dingle town to Tralee to drop Nico & Kelly at the train station. a dog was hopping in and out of the road, going nuts over two people on bikes, and you could tell that my oncoming presence wasn’t going to stop him. sure enough, *bounce* into the road he came …. but i reacted fast enough to prevent dog-splatter on the road and the car.
sheep in particular take a degree of ownership over the road, too. in more rural areas it’s no suprirse as they tend to outnumber humans on a significant scale. you’ll see them sticking heads through fences to get better grazing, walking along the birm on the side of the road for their morning snack. coming out of Maam Cross, three of them were strolling along the N-road like they were out for their usual Sunday constitutional. later that same day, driving through Connemara, i had my first direct sheep-in-the-road encounter.
as i said, using the roads is a collaborative effort.