“Neddy McBride will be calling over tonight from up the country, [insert in hushed voice]Please God.” Please God is a common ending to many phrases here in Ireland and so I’ve been told, it has been for many, many generations. Ad infinitum. It basically just means with the help of God or for those like me who don’t fancy using such colloquialisms then “hopefully” fits the bill nicely as well.
Hopefully is a good word to describe how you get from A to B on Irish roads; namely the country roads. Terrifyingly, nervously, horrifyingly, absolutely alertedly, shockingly, anything that sounds scary and ends in the letters “ly” as a matter of fact. First of all, as we know, these roads were not built for automobiles–and certainly not for two vehicles at all. They were roads built for carriages, rickshaws, tractors and legs. Now, of course, many new roads have been created over the years (many in the last 5 years alone), but I’d venture to guess that the stereotypical narrow country road is still what covers the most ground here in Ireland. Extremely charming, yes. The breathtaking, winding Ring of Kerry..the Lombard Street-y road down to the Dingle Peninsula (don’t do whilst in first trimester), venturing though the Wicklow mountains…in which the scenery is so gorgeous that it is essential to just meander and lose yourself in the magic of it all.
Still, day to day driving on these roads is definitely dangerous to your health. First of all, everyone drives a million miles an hour when you’d think that it might be safer to go slow because you never know when you will encounter another car and then inevitably have to stop and pull over into the hedge and let them pass or vice versa because two cars literally do not fit on the road together. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly blacked-out in fear that I would be hit by a huge lorry (truck) because they generally will not stop to let you by. I also cannot tell you how many times I have just closed my eyes tight and stopped on the side of the road and when I reopened them the lorry had miraculously passed by and I was still alive, but completely shell-shocked. On countless other occasions, I have somehow serendipitously squeezed by due to the unforeseen leeway of a driveway or a slightly wider shoulder and just barely made it though (yes, I suppose I have thought about the grace of God or some such entity having something to do with this…) I know this probably sounds really dramatic, but it is the truth. To make matters worse, Richard has an odd habit of driving on the wrong side of the road at times (tell me again, why didn’t he move to the USA instead?) which I can’t understand and scares the living daylights out of me. It’s like a death wish as far as I am concerned. He thinks I overreact about it. Particularly when I start wailing and flailing like a baby that needs milk until he switches lanes. It doesn’t help that Geoffrey is giggling hysterically and having a blast in the back seat through it all.
I know I am a farmer’s wife, but tractors are such a nuisance on the roads. I do realize that they need to get from A to B too (and, ahem, home on time for supper with their families) but geeez do they have to get there whilst driving in front of me? The same goes for all the gigs that are out and about. It’s nearly impossible to overtake (pass) a tractor and the thought of spooking a horse pulling a cart on these roads is terrifying so you’re just stuck. For anywhere from 1-20 kilometers..or 1-30 minutes approximately. And that’s about when the crooning of John Denver comes into my head…..it never fails.
Take me home country roads…