愛爾蘭的人口只有 480 萬，見羊群牛群和綠油油草地的機會比見人更多。離開首都都柏林後，公共交通配套可謂聊勝於無，要真正看一般遊客看不到的風景，自駕遊是不二之選。
我們在都柏林機場租了 5 日車，以西岸的 Cliffs of Moher 和 Dingle Peninsula、中部的 Kilkenny 城堡和東岸的 Wicklow Mountain 國家公園為主要標目，雖然有了方向，但每日的路線仍取決於 Airbnb 的位置。
愛爾蘭的 Airbnb 價格比一般旅館便宜一半以上，選擇多如繁星，我們每晚到埗後才訂翌日的住宿。有的屋主在家，有講有笑可以分享旅遊心得；有的是農村獨立小屋，打開門便是牛群羊群，私隱度高；有的一屋多房專做 Airbnb 生意，似是學生宿舍；有的提供早餐；有的可以煮食。價錢和質素往往未必成正比，因為每個家都各有風格，每次都有驚喜，而且能夠入住當地人的家，已是一個不錯的體驗。
我們遊覽 Cliffs of Moher 的前一晚訂了一個在崖邊的農村住宿，屋主是一名愛爾蘭語（Gaelic）老師，她跟我們說到了 Cliffs of Moher 後不要在正門泊車，因為收費是按人頭計每人 6 歐元，而不是按車和時間收費。但她有相熟的農夫，可以在懸崖的北部泊車，泊完車再走 10 分鐘便到達。
翌日一早，我們按照她的手繪地圖找到泊車的地方，是一個荒廢了的農場。輕輕攀越圍欄，進入登山道，不用數分鐘已走到了崖邊。一般遊客會在正門進入，他們在崖上往下看，只看到崖的高度，而我們在北面 1 公里外，不單看到崖的高度，更看到它闊度。看到不少遊客走來，讚嘆這邊的景觀如何壯闊，我們知道自己來對地方，沒有再往正門那邊走去。
Booking a rental car is quite easy in Ireland. One major price difference is between automatic and manual cars. Although I am very comfortable driving manual cars in the USA, I have never driven a manual transmission on the opposite side of the car and road before; but since it was so much cheaper than an automatic transmission, it was worth giving it a go.
I’ve always liked Tullamore DEW whiskey and since we didn’t have any plans, we made a detour to the distillery. It was only €14 for a guided tour and tasting in their original store house and shipping facility along the barge running through the town. We learned everything about how whiskey is made in general and how Tullamore DEW specially makes their whiskey.
After the tour, we were back on the road and that was what we did for the next week. The night before we would pick a destination for the following day and try to book an accommodation. In the mornings we would figure out what we hoped to see, but really we just drove and stopped when something sparked our interest. We had a few beautiful days of sunny weather where we had picnics for lunch in random small towns, and we also had a few days of very rainy, wet weather that kept us sitting in the car drinking a lot of coffee.
The roads in Ireland are extremely narrow and the speed limits are extremely high on these country roads. Some roads did not fit two cars at the same time, but the speed limit was 80 or 100 km per hour with blind curves every few hundred meters. It took me a while to get the hang of the curves, speed and pulling over to let cars pass, but by the end I loved it. If one does not really enjoy driving, Ireland is not the place to have a self-drive holiday. Luckily, I love driving and in Ireland I had to actually drive the manual car by shifting through the different gears every second I was behind the wheel.
Ireland is extremely accommodating to self-drive travellers like us who don’t pre-book anything. There are B&B’s in every town and the Irish are very sweet, friendly people. The landscape is different depending which area you go to, but it is all utterly breath-taking. The only thing that is constant throughout Ireland is the colour of green and sheep everywhere.