Leave the Emerald Isle risk-taking to Ryder Cup Captain Lehman If you plan on watching the Ryder Cup in person or are just planning for an Irish vacation, pack these nuggets of info in your carry-on luggage. There is no language barrier, but Ireland has a few quirks you should know about so you can spend less time worrying about details and more time finishing that Captain America costume.
A valid U.S. license is sufficient to rent a car in Ireland, but make sure to keep your license on you at all times. Beware: Speed limits are posted in kilometers. Pointing lamely to the "110" sign won't help if the cops pull you over-that's only 70 mph.
The currency in Ireland is euros, but if you venture into Northern Ireland you'll need to get British pounds. Prices are not cheap on either side of the border.
Tee Times: The Ryder Cup venue, the K Club, is public access, but it will be a tough tee time to get that week. The best courses to sample nearby are Royal Dublin (150-170 euros; 353-1-8336346, theroyaldublingolfclub.com ), Portmarnock (165-190 euros; 353-1-8462634, portmarnockgolfclub.ie ) and Druids Glen (175 euros; 353-1-2873600, druidsglen.ie).
Find out how Ireland's second-greatest export (after David Feherty) is made at the Guinness Storehouse (353-1-4084800). After the tour you get a free pint. The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (353-1-6705602) stops at haunts made famous by James Joyce and Brendan Behan.
What to Eat:
Every menu offers an Irish breakfast: A greasy platter of fried egg, potato bread, a rasher of bacon, tea and a white and a black pudding. These "puddings" are actually pork and bread packed together in patties. Warning: Black pudding gets its color from congealed blood.
Ask Traveling Joe
He's been where you're going
My son was transferred to Philadelphia and he'll pay the airfare if I come to visit. Shall I bring the clubs, or get some preseason Eagles tickets?
-Dub Wood, Cool, Calif.
Opt for eagles on the golf course, not the gridiron. Preseason football is a waste of time, even in football-mad Philly. Within an hour's drive of downtown you can tee it up at the Golf Course at Glen Mills ($75-$90, 610-558-2142), Hartefeld National ($110; 610- 268-8800) and Pine Hill ($100, 877-450-8866) in nearby New Jersey.
My wife and I are planning a late- September trip to Palm Springs. Are there any good courses that don't cost an arm and a leg?
-Lou Jakowatz, Tucson, Ariz.
Affordable quality golf is about as scarce as snow in Death Valley, but summer greens fees remain in effect in late September. For $50 or less, go with Trilogy at La Quinta (760-771-0707), the Golf Resort at Indian Wells (760-346-4653) or Arnold Palmer's Silver Rock (888-600-7272), which will soon be one of the courses hosting the PGA Tour's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Bear in mind that late September is overseeding time in the desert, so call ahead to check on conditions.