Thierry Henry, GPS and breakdowns: An Irish road trip from hell


By this time the rain was coming down buckets, and when we left the small country bar to get back on the road home we were angry at the result, getting tired and my lips were still growing by the minute.

About 20 minutes outside Mountrath there had been a horrific accident in which six people ended up in intensive care. As a result we were diverted to back roads.

As the torrential rain came thundering down on us we discussed in detail the heartbreak of the Henry handball and how Ireland played amazing football.

About half an hour into the back roads, and about 10 minutes outside Templemore, we hit an extremely vicious pothole at a fair speed. Within seconds James, who was driving, lost control of the car and we were forced onto the side of the road. We could go no further.

Upon close inspection we realized the front wheel blew out. No big deal, there was a spare one in the back. It wasn’t until James opened the trunk that he discovered there were no tools to change the wheel with.

Panic began to set in. It was nearly midnight. We were in the middle of an Irish dirt road with no lights around us and the heavens had opened up unkindly. And both our phones were on their last legs.

After several phone calls, we decided to seek the assistance of the local Garda (police). A male and a female officer arrived in 20 minutes. They were wonderful but were unable to get the front wheel off.

A tow truck had to be called. Another half an hour passed, and by this time we were beginning to realize we were really down on our luck.

Finally, Seamus, a burly middle-aged mechanic, came to our aid. He did throw me a few funny looks -- I’m sure it was the big lips but I can’t be certain as it was pitch black.

Anyway, our new friend sorted us out and we were back in our car in no time.

However, it doesn’t end there. James tried to switch on the engine but no joy. Because we had the lights on for so long and the hazard signals, the battery died.

Thankfully Seamus and the two Garda officers had not left yet. They were kind enough to give us a push in the pouring rain, and finally we were away.

Back to the sat nav. It was telling us we would be home at 4:30 a.m. I couldn’t wait for my bed and to put something on my lips -- maybe a hat.

Everything was going okay considering the day we had, so after relaxing a bit I decided to go for a snooze. I was no longer asleep when I was awoken abruptly by a loud thud and the car dragging its tales. James, still driving the Tigra, pulled in yet again.

This time the exhaust came off in a flood of water and the car would no longer drive. And now I’m sitting here at 3:30 am in the dark while James is trying to figure out a solution.

We are about a mile outside Adare in Limerick but were advised by a passing motorist (who didn’t know anything about exhausts) that all the hotels were closed for the month of November.

What are we going to do now? My phone had gone dead. James had little battery left but who can we call?

My lips are aching, I am freezing cold and am drowned wet after going outside to see if I could somehow lift the exhaust back in place. That wasn’t possible.

We finally got home that night. A kind Samaritan stopped about a half an hour later to help us out. He had tools that removed the exhaust. We added it to the boot with the blown out wheel and prayed that we would get home in one piece.

We finally arrived in Tralee a little after 5:20 a.m. on Thursday morning.

A few days later my lips returned to normal -- thank god as my wedding is less than two weeks away -- and James’ hair is still in one piece, but one thing is for sure.

Next time my good friend James wants me to take a road trip with him the answer will be no!