Off Road 4×4
My cousin Tony is getting married soon and as is the custom the men recently gathered for activities. Possessed by the petrol demon as Tony is, we visited Palmerstown House Estate in Naas to enjoy the pleasures on offer at OffRoadDriving.ie. With no experience driving up and down stairs, hills or trees, we didn’t know what to expect. But after signing in and orienting with a quick video demo on what not to do, ten brave souls climbed into four Land Rover Discovery 300TDIs and had at it.
And off we went, then stopped, as the lead vehicle, having only managed two hundred yards, was driven straight into a tree (to protect the innocent, the driver, Paddy, shall remain nameless). After towing him out and serving up the appropriate measure of kind-hearted verbal abuse we got our first lap in and soon had a feel for the track. I will mention that driving down a huge hill is a very unnatural feeling because the differential requires the driver to keep their feet off all pedals once momentum starts to take the vehicle. This is a very disconcerting feeling at first because your natural instinct is to clutch and break, which would, of course, send you hurtling downhill in a skid, straight into a tree, Paddy.
The vehicles themselves took all the punishment thrown at them without putting out their sciatic nerves and smiled at us throughout like the hapless novices we are. Sections include the giant seesaw, the pools, the rock garden and the sideways hill that defies all laws of physics and common sense, tilting the vehicle almost to forty five degrees as you hold on to whatever is at hand. And while the driving seat is a far smoother ride, in the back you’re mostly trying just to hold onto your lunch. We were warned of this in advance, and I do recommend not attempting this hungover without several sick bags and a change of pants to hand.
Unafraid of letting you scare the living bejesus out of yourself, the staff were great and had the banter with us while we attempted to not vomit on ourselves or roll the Land Rovers as simple fools are want to do. This became especially reassuring on the last lap when the testicular fortitude of all involved reached idiot-level and there were, at least what we thought were, mighty, military-grade, ultra-manly, burning laps that had the trees shaking in their roots! They weren’t, of course, we barely got out of second gear.
Needless to say, Offroaddriving.ie is well worth your time. If you are in any way inclined to drive up or down anything sideways, backwards or nose-first, covered in mud, twigs, water, leaves, adrenaline and squirrel guts then these are the men for the job, though you will need to provide your own squirrels. Prices are very reasonable and there are group rates and event packages, along with archery and shooting available and if you try to murder any defenseless trees, Paddy, they’ll even help you dispose of the body. Top class!