Adventures in Irish GPS

First, an apology. The month of June escaped without a single blog post, largely due to my presence at baseball games for many hours on most June nights. In addition, the last week of June was occupied with our family vacation. For me it was a combined work/family trip as I attended a conference and hubby/sons got to party without me. The destination? Ireland.

A typical rural Irish road. Notice the buildings and how close they are. The vegetation obscures the stone walls, but they are definitely there. This was one of the wider roads we traveled on!

A typical rural Irish road. Notice the buildings and how close they are. The vegetation obscures the stone walls, but they are definitely there. This was one of the wider roads we traveled on!

We arrived on the Emerald Isle on a Saturday morning. My conference started on Sunday afternoon and went into full force on Monday. This gave us a day or so to wander through Dublin and explore the sights together. As I got involved in my conference and hubby/sons were left to their own devices, it did not take long for my country boys to grow weary of the large city. A car was rented and they began non-Dublin adventures without me. Hubby had read up on the ins and outs of Irish driving, so he was prepared and knew enough to add a GPS system to the rental car for a small daily fee.

I am generally very annoyed by the know-it-all smugness of GPS systems and avoid them. However, after I finished my conference and joined their adventures, I was quickly won over by the necessity of this device which had much better information than our printed maps.

Country roads in Ireland are paved, but extremely narrow. This effect is enhanced by the famous stone walls built right along the edge of said narrow road. The pavement is only a few short feet (in some cases, inches) from the wall. This “shoulder” generally includes extremely ambitious vegetation that grows rampant–further increasing the feeling of claustrophobia. Drivers absolutely have to cooperate with each other. When two cars meet on one of these roads, whomever most recently passed a pasture/farm gate or pullout area is expected to back up and pull off so that the other vehicle can pass and both can continue on their merry way.

Because of the random placement of roads, their twists and turns, and road signs placed where no one could possibly read them, there was not always agreement between hubby and I as to which road was being calmly described by the Irish GPS lady. She became the arbiter of sorts. After selecting a road on which we did not agree, hubby and I would breathlessly await her verdict….either “continue to…”, or the dreaded “recalculating” would be uttered.

Now that I think about it…wouldn’t it be nice to have an impartial 3rd party always present to decide arguments? Hmmm….I wonder if Irish GPS lady is busy for the next 30 or so years…


About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at
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2 Responses to Adventures in Irish GPS

  1. Lona says:

    Fascinating. Thanks for the glimpse of Ireland. Had to laugh at your wish for a GPS lady for settling differences…

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