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Published: December 4th 2005
An Irish rainbow
A double rainbow appeared after the wedding promising happiness for Sean and Judith. Marilyn and I could not locate the pot of gold.
On the second Saturday of this October, good friends Sean and Judith got married in Our Lady of the Valley Church near the village of Beaufort in County Kerry, Ireland. I was standing up along with Sean’s dad Art (the best man) in this very special happening in the land of Leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows.
My wife Marilyn and I flew Continental to Shannon Airport, where I rented a car. Beaufort, having limited bus services, necessitated the car rental. I truly detest driving in the States, so why take up the challenge of a completely different “side” of driving in a foreign country. Well, I had to get to Beaufort, and a car was about the only way I could do it. So I took up the challenge of the three-hour “jaunt,” which included navigating the busy city streets of Limerick and Killarney.
I was fearful because Ireland drives on the left like countries in the UK, Japan, Malaysia and many other countries around the world with the steering wheel and controls on the right hand side of the car. After 44 years of driving in the States, my motor memory skills for
Irish Breakfast at our farmhouse B&B
Musli, scrambled eggs, orange juice, Irish bacon and sausages, homemade brown bread and coffee (not tea)--we're Americans after all.
driving a car are cemented on the right hand side of the pavement and the left hand side of the front seat. Our rented Almera came with a manual shift, which initially caused me a great deal of anxiety. Actually the standard shift was not a problem. I easily mastered shifting gears with my left hand; the clutch and brake were in the same position as in a right hand drive vehicle, so nothing new to learn there.
The main bother for me was being out on the road on the left, the complete opposite of driving in the States. Roundabouts: Enter to the left, yield, exit to the right, were a major Irish Driver’s Ed nightmare for me. And right turns, not left turns, were a dangerous undertaking for an American driving in Ireland. Remember that in driving, everything is reversed for a right side driver in a left side driving country. Here’s an example: On a two-lane expressway in Ireland, the fast lane is on the right.
I never did adjust, on Ireland’s very narrow roads, to keeping a safe distance from the left curb or left shoulder, several times scraping the passenger side tire and
Our Lady of the Valley Church
A more pretty place to tie the knot would be hard to find.
hubcap against a curb, thorny shrubs or an ancient stone fence. I don’t know which was louder, the scraping sounds of hubcap against rocks, or the shrieks of my wife, sitting in the passenger seat. Oh well, we survived, but my knuckles were white the entire time I sat behind the wheel of that car.
The drive to the church on the wedding day was beyond spectacular, up and up and around and then down a winding “road” the size of bike path back home. Carefree sheep and goats of the red or blue stripe grazed the grass between the sharp rock outcroppings. Hikers, bikers, and yes, other cars were coming from the other direction; passing was by mere inches on the narrow mountain lane. However, all challenges were met and everyone arrived at the church on time.
The lovely ceremony, including a full Mass, lasted a little less than an hour. The beautiful bride Judith outshined the sun that was peaking from behind the edge of a cloud. And the handsome groom Sean was decked out in an Irish kilt with all the trimmings. Rain drummed on the church’s roof in the middle of the vows, which
My love and I
Marilyn and I in front of the church. The Irish Catholic priest asked me if I had any experience with weddings. I told him that I was married and had gone through a wedding ceremony, but that it had been in the enemy camp: A Lutheran church. The priest smiled and forgave me.
added drama. During his sermon, the Irish Priest officiating the marriage was able to slip in a couple of funny anecdotes about married life, although most of us Americans in attendance missed the punch lines due to the good Father’s thick Irish brogue.
The drive back to Beaufort was auspicious with the appearance of a double rainbow. I drove right through the end of it. My wife and I searched high and low but could not find the pot of gold supposedly at the rainbow’s end. Oh well, it didn’t matter. Rainbows in Ireland are harbingers of good luck to come. They promise success and happiness. Certainly Sean and Judith will have both.
As for me, I selfishly hoped that the rainbow would afford me the luck of driving the rented Almera back to Shannon Airport safely, surviving in one piece left side driving, the Irish roads and the speed-freak drivers.
All the photos in this blog were taken by my lovely wife Marilyn, without whose constant alerts about the closeness of the left curb or shoulder, I may have returned the Almera to Europe by Car minus a passenger side.
By the way, you will
An Irish pub
The rehearsal dinner was here. In a blasphemous moment, I ordered wine instead of Guinness at the pub.
not find any photos of the bride and groom or the wedding itself in this blog. A newlywed couple do deserve a little privacy--don't you think? Slainte.
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