Have you ever gone on a trip with a parent? I mean, apart from when you were little and they paid for it all – just like two adults going on a trip together. My mother came to visit me in Ireland a few weeks ago. It was the first time we actually spent time together without the rest of the family, and without any grudges since I was... hum, 12?

We rented a car and drove around some parts of the country where public transport is not exactly great. The problem: I don't drive and my mother had never driven on the left side of the road before. Luckily, we picked up the car at Dublin airport and not in the city centre! She brought a German GPS which was absolutely useless -especially as it didn't make the connection between the Republic of and Northern Ireland, so it acted like it's the end of of the world at Dundalk, the last town before the border: 'You MUST turn around immediately'.

We also had a lot of fun navigating the three hundred roundabouts that you'll find every few miles in North-West Ireland, and got a tiny scrape on the left mirror when trying to drive out of the car park (which we repaired with nail polish – fortunately, the car was black and we returned it very early in the morning, so they didn't notice ;) ).
Donegal is part of the Republic of Ireland and the most north-western county of Ireland. Basically, it's the end of the world – no trains and very infrequent buses, and certainly more sheep than people. I've heard people tell amazing stories about the rugged coast line, but was warned that this is only for experienced drivers: not my mother, at who I was shouting “LEFT! LEFT!” every two minutes. So instead, we drove from Derry to Glenveagh National Park, which didn't put us at any risk of dropping into the Atlantic with our little rental car .

Donegal is so much the end of the world that at some point, the signs stop being bi-lingual and are just in Irish – it's Irelands biggest Gaeltacht, which means many locals use Irish rather than English when they speak to each other. The local accent is so think that have the time you can't tell which of both they speak, even if they speak English ;) I was very thankful to have learned a couple of words and Irish place names.

The drive through the park was magical and we stopped many times to take pictures of the amazing, rugged landscapes with many lakes, but the highlight of it all was the visit to Glenveagh Castle and its gardens. It's quite high up and thanks to the elevation and the nearby lake, the climate is pretty humid – so much that the castle gardens included a lot of species from tropical countries!

I'm really happy we went, because I think I wouldn't have had a chance to see this otherwise.

Have you ever gone on an 'adult' trip with your parents?

{Sorry for the hiatus – it's been over a month since my last post. I needed a break to get over my unhappiness with Belfast, work and make plans for the future}

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