Angela Scanlon... Road tripping
Reigniting my love for Irish holidays
Published 26/07/2015 | 02:30
This year I've decided to take a holiday at home. Media and marketeers might call it a 'staycation'; I call it the good old days because, let's face it, every Irish adult spent summer holidays in Ireland (unless you were extremely posh and actually got to experience some real rays in your youth!). My knowledge of local geography is dismal. I try, I really do, but I had visited more counties by the time I was 10 than I have in the subsequent 20 years.
Of course I've been further afield, for work and play. I've spent time in Austria, France, Italy, America, Australia, India, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. I holiday professionally and have been to some incredible spots, but I am determined to reignite my love for an Irish holiday. To pack the car with Tayto and fizzy drinks, maybe even a few sandwiches squashed into tinfoil. I shall travel without a seatbelt and may even sleep on the dashboard if the rental is big enough, and I'm bendy enough. I will forget about health and safety and wear no suncream - 'sure it only comes out once a year, soak it up, it won't do you a bit of harm'.
I'm half joking, obviously. I would never eat sandwiches from tinfoil - not since that time I found a slug in some lettuce between two slabs of stale wheat (he was still wriggling about in there eating holes in the papery leaves). But I do plan to embrace the road trip.
Why is it that America is famed for road trips when Ireland was built for this? The Wild Atlantic Way has, of course, helped with the appeal and at least the foreigners know where to go, but as they trundle along the coastal route, I plan to be cruising on roads less travelled. This island was made for roaming. It is perfect for nomads - the pace, the scenes, the multiple sub-cultures only miles apart.
A sunny soundtrack, a hint of a plan and nothing in sight but miles of road. There's something wildly romantic about meandering through the Irish countryside, getting lost on a road that doesn't have signal for the GPS, feeling the dappled sunlight break through a canopy of leaves above as you read a map arseways and try not to cry with frustration and hunger. There's nothing like stumbling upon some dimly-lit pub with nothing but pints and toasties on offer; or finding the most unkempt, underwhelming café that serves the best crab claws in the world; or a wildly eccentric candy-coloured tea room with cakes for days and tea made of flowers.
A six-star hotel on some soulless man-made island has nothing on us… I'm off to buy a raincoat and grab a six-pack for the journey.