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Getting Around Dublin

Though I never admitted it to my friends, learning to drive on the "wrong" side of the road was a little scary for this native Californian. Before I arrived I thought it would be easy. After all, I've been driving for almost 25 years. The lush green, scenic roads winding gently beside the Irish Sea are a piece of cake compared to the noisy intensity of LA freeways. But the first time I had to jerk the wheel to miss a cyclist at a crazy intersection of five suburban streets, I realized it was going to take some time to retrain my brain to swerve to the left instead of to the right into oncoming traffic! (In fact, the US Embassy in Dublin cautions that tourists driving on the wrong side of the road are the cause of several serious accidents each year, so please be careful with yourself!)

Luas Trams in Dublin, IrelandFortunately Dublin has pleasant and affordable options for getting around by bus, train and taxi. The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) trains are clean, quick and used daily by shoppers, business folks, polite school kids, retirees and vacationers. Buses and light rail trams (LUAS) are everywhere and can get you almost anywhere, sooner if not later.

And Dublin taxis are plentiful. Taxi SignThe sprawling city of Los Angeles has 2,300 authorized taxi drivers, while Dublin has more than 12,000 licensed taxis working a compact 44 square miles! Dublin taxi drivers are generally friendly, honest and proud to act as city tour guides along the way.

Oh yeah, better beware! Irish drinking and driving laws are so tough that a normal-sized person is generally unable to pass a breathalyzer test after just one drink, making taxis an even more attractive option for getting around from one great Irish pub to another!

Walking is also a great way to get around Dublin. Streets are clean and sidewalks are often lined with trees and colorful mom and pop businesses. Street names are sometimes hard to find (look hopefully to the corner building walls at intersections). Dubliners are really helpful when asked for directions, though you may have to ask more than one before you get all the way to your destination. For an insider guide to Dublin by Foot, try the website http://www.hidden-dublin.com/foot/foot01.html

Meanwhile, back in my car, I have finally graduated from driving only at dawn and after dusk on Sundays. I have learned to circle confidently on and off the roundabouts in heavy traffic.

Now, if I can only find a coveted parking spot in the middle of Dublin City Centre!

—JB Delaney

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