Saudi Arabia to Ireland by Land Rover in 1997
Ireland mountains and back roads. A big change for the Land Rover

The ferry arrives at Dublin docks in the dark and rain. The ferry docks and we bump down the ramp onto Irish soil. It's lashing with rain and it's windy. We wonder why we left sunny Saudi for this.

We stop at the police checkpoint at the exit of the docks where, without leaving their shelter, two Guards, Irish policemen, lean out the window and ask if we have passports and if so, for what country. We yell back at them, “yes, we have a Canadian and an Irish passport.” They take our word for it, and without us showing the passports and without them leaving their shelter, they wave us through. We are a bit surprised at how easy it all is when it is considered that the Land Rover Discovery has the steering wheel on the wrong side, for Ireland, with Arabic number plates and huge spotlights on a bull bar. We do not see any customs people, which is another surprise but then it is Ireland and it is early, cold, wet and dark. We drive out of the docks and out of Dublin. We join the N3 for Navan and Noinin’s mother's house.

Saudi Arabia to Ireland by Land Rover in 1997
Noinin's very pleased to be home, Ian is missing the sun

Noinin’s excitement is at a busting point when we pull up outside the gates of the house and find they are locked! We try yelling but no one hears us, so in lashing rain, Ian climbs over the gates and bangs on the door. Noinin’s mum answers and lets us in.

A week later, when the Government offices reopened after Christmas, we inform them that we are importing the Disco into Ireland and presented them with the documentation. Having the Saudi Land Rover registration papers, bills of sale, etc. and the English translation, signed and certified by the Irish Embassy, is a huge help. The officials are well-informed and know all about the procedures in other countries. Insurance was arranged and the road tax was paid before we obtained papers for the Irish registration number. We are informed the truck needs to be inspected and certified before it can be registered but we could continue to use our Arab number plates. Some weeks later the customs people dropped by Noinin’s mother's house to inspect the Land Rover but as we were not there the inspection could not be conducted. The following day, after a short telephone call it was agreed that the Land Rover Discovery did not require an inspection. The next day the papers arrived in the mail and the number plates were purchased and installed.

The End

Saudi Arabia to Ireland by Ian Conlin
Ian and Noinin Conlin

About the Author

Born in Northern Ireland in 1944, Ian moved to Germany in 1948 to join his father who was in the British army.

Returning to Northern Ireland in 1955, Ian worked for the British Ministry of Defense as a trainee and obtained a degree in Engineering from Queens University, Belfast.

In 1967, Ian moved to Scotland for a year before moving to Canada.

Ian was employed by Ontario Hydro as a commissioning engineer for nuclear and coal-fired electric power stations in the province of Ontario. Then, in 1980, Ian accepted a position with Aramco and moved to Saudi Arabia as a commissioning engineer with Northern Area Producing Engineer. In this capacity, he was commissioned and started up a number of oil and gas plants both onshore and offshore from Dhahran through Ras Tanura to the Kuwait border.

August 1990 was the start of the Gulf War when all Western contractors departed. The remaining Aramco employees in the northern area became busy and the area around the northern oil fields on the Kuwait border became very exciting.

Ian moved to Ireland in 1998, then returned to Canada in 1999 to work as a design engineer for nuclear power plants. He moved back to Ireland in 2011 to work part-time before retiring in 2012.

Part 14