Photographer's Note

Lost while driving on the left

Ok, I wasn't exactly lost but I still wasn't too comfortable driving on the left side of the road like they do in Ireland and the UK. So when I encountered this sign as a driver and needed to quickly determine which way to go, I could feel my temperature rising a little bit.

But that's the joy of traveling I guess, getting out of your comfort zone a little in order to see new things. Luckily this junction is in the tiny fishing village of Ballyvaughan in County Clare. Not a whole lot of traffic here luckily for me and the other drivers on the road.

If you're interested in renting a traditional Irish Cottage with the thatched roofs and whitewashed walls, this might be the place to do it. There's a cluster of these holiday homes right outside the village.

By the time my trip ended,my left side driving skills were greatly improved and the trauma of driving on the left was subsiding. On my last day I was even brave enough and good enough I guess to drive into downtown Dublin. And patting myself on the back all the way.

If you've never thought too much about which countries drive on the left, here's some background (info culled from the Wikipedia)

By worldwide population, 34% drive on the left and 66% on the right. Interestingly, most worldwide traffic initially drove on the left.

The number of countries that drive on the right are far greater than the number driving on the left. But because India is one of those left driving countries, it's huge population skews the numbers somewhat. While not an exhaustive list the following are some notable left driving countries - Ireland, UK, India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand.

There are several theories out there as to why the traffic initially was on the left but the one accepted by most is the following:

"As more people are right-handed, horsemen would thus be able to hold the reins with their left hands and keep their right hand free—to offer in friendship to passing riders or to defend themselves with swords, if necessary. This also explains why men's jackets and shirts have the buttons on the right."

Interesting stuff for sure.


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Additional Photos by Douglas Arrasin (darrasin) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 717 W: 55 N: 835] (2860)
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