It's always embarrassing to get lost in your own country. I remember a few years back going on a drive around the eastern end of Tibradden and being astonished how the familiar winding roadway turned suddenly into a new, well-appointed piece of tarmacadam sprinkled with roundabouts and how at one I directed Herself to take a right turn and ended up someone's driveway.
I have an excuse in Wicklow, though, as despite being only a few miles down the road the county is one in which I have been driven more times than I have been called upon to navigate. Nevertheless, our trip to Glendalough ended up being a magical mystery tour of the first order, mostly due to my own unpreparedness. A map would have been handy. A good map. Instead, I had three A4 sheets hastily printed from a "navigation" site on the Internet. They might have been of use if the were a better scale. Also, I had only recently changed the print cartridges and hadn't gone through the necessary nozzle cleaning steps, so at least one vital, but short roadway had not printed properly. This would have a definite effect on the car mileage by the time we were finished.
"Mind the sheep," I said.
We were in County Wicklow rush-hour traffic, which is to say there were two cars in front of us at a distance of about fifty yards and nothing behind us for ten miles.
"I see the sheep."
We imitated the car in front, slowed down and went around the sheep whose head was busy in the ditch cropping grass from between huge plants of heather.
The roadway wound around the bogs and dipped, rollercoaster-like, into sudden minor valleys. We crossed a bridge barely wide enough for the car.
"Now," I said, looking at the faulty map. "I think we take a left at this junction..."
We dipped down into the side of the valley of Glencree. On the map, Glencree Reconcilliation Centre should be on our left. Naturally, it was now on our right. It was about five miles before we found a spot wide enough to turn around. Not to worry.
So we turned around. I found out later that we might have been three miles from Glendalough coming from the west if only I'd had the nerve to keep going.