Well I finally got around to doing something that I've already been doing for years now.
I got my Learners Permit today.
You see, since I come from across the pond and we drive on the right side of the road (I mean that in BOTH senses of the word right) I can't just switch my drivers licence over to the Irish one. Despite the fact that people from main land Europe can and they drive on the right side of the road as well. I won't even get myself started on that.
So now I am semi- licensed to drive legally in Ireland. Not that I was driving illegally here but once May 10th hits and I've been here a year my American license becomes no good here. Boo.
There is definitely a lengthy process to get your License here- unlike in the states. First you have to go and get the drivers theory test materials. A huge book and CD-ROM so you can take the practice tests. That costs around 40 euros, maybe more I can't remember. There are 851 possible questions for the test and you have to go through all of them and memorize them for the test. No Fun.
Then comes the actual Drivers Theory test- there is no practical before you get your learners, just questions about general driving knowledge. You have to schedule this test weeks prior to taking it and also pay 37 euros for the test. You also have to get 2 passport pictures for the test. Thats 7 euros.
Then after you pass the test (assuming you do, if not you get to pay another 37 euros for a second test.) You have to schedule yourself for an eye examination- doesn't matter if you had one a week ago or a year ago- they have to fill out a specific form to hand into the motor tax office. Thats another 30 euros for the eye test (we got lucky cause specsavers still has their half price sale on eye tests- so 15 euro for us)
After you gather all of these bits, take all your tests, track down your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate (in my case), sign over your first born etc. You can then go to the motor tax office. They take all of the information you have pain stakingly spent your days off getting together, staple it together in a massive lump and charge you 15 more euros for a laminated piece of paper they stick one of those passport photos you spent 7 euros on, with.
Wala. Now I can do something I've been doing for years now. Thanks Eire. It only cost me 114 Euros. Can't wait for those driving lessons (at 30 euros a pop.)!!!
But look- they look so weird compared to the American ones....
You see- its like a little book- folded up inside a plastic sleeve. I personally like the cards better- they fit better in the wallet!! But the background/water marks are pretty- kinda hard to see in the picture...
Here is the inside- it folds out into three-tells you the restrictions, what i can drive, expiration etc. Also please ignore the horrible passport photo. I always seem to Chandler Bing it up when I need to take any sort of official photo- I get this horrible grimace and half eye closed thing. ugh.
P.S. you wont get any sort of crazy good information about me from my permit so I'm not worried about posting it. just my address- so crazy internet stalkers feel free to send me care packages of american candy and oreos. thanks.
In the middle it lists what vehicles a person is permitted to drive with their license. Apparently on top of being able to drive a car they have decided that I should be allowed to drive tractors as well. (see on the very bottom...) I think I just may take them up on that....so I'm off to go find a farm with a spare tractor.....