I got home and could hardly wait to share my photos. A two-week road trip all around Ireland with my camera in hand for the entire thing? Kiiind of a photographer’s dream. (All that was missing was an awesome couple to travel around with and photograph at each destination. Where can I find me one of those? ;) I was so lucky to get to take this trip back in August, but when I got home, the travel withdrawals set in, and instead of getting to work editing my images, I found myself staring listlessly at my computer screen, just wishing I could go back and do it all over again. If I held onto my photos a little longer, maybe it would feel like I were still there, I thought. No dice. I still missed that beautiful country terribly. But now, finally, a full five months after I returned home, and in the full spirit of Throwback Thursday, I’m finally sharing my adventure!
If you’re not into mountains, lakes, cliffs or the color green, you may just want to stop here and check back next time, as this post is most definitely not for you. Everyone else, here’s a little peek at the unbelievable beauty of the Emerald Isle and a few a the places that have my heart forever.
I started my round-country road trip in Dublintown, using Penn State’s participation in the Croke Park Classic as my excuse for my travel. While I didn’t lug my dslr out with me often in Ireland’s capital, I did get to bring it along while I explored Trinity College and during a bus day-trip out to County Wicklow, which remains one of my favorite days of the entire trip.
Trinity College’s old library. Straight out of Beauty and the Beast. Touring Ireland’s Wicklow National Park killed me in the best way possible. I could take this view in every day and never be tired of it. If this is all looking a little familiar, let me refresh your memory with a little P.S. I Love You clip. The bridge below is now affectionately known as the “P.S. I Love You Bridge” “Guinness Lake” If only heather grew like this in the states! We made our way to Glendalough, a centuries-old monastery named for the valley (glen) of two lakes (da loch). Absolutely beautiful even despite getting caught in a torrential downpour. And the last place visited on my bus trip was Avoca Mill! The oldest weaving mill and the source of the coziest, most colorful blankets in all of Ireland ;) But seriously, if you think I didn’t lug around a blanket from this mill with me for the rest of the trip, well, you are sadly mistaken. The colors! Also, hilarious. Once my time in Dublin came to an end, I hopped in my rental car with my friend Lauren and started our tour of the countryside! On our way down to Cork, we stopped at our first castle of the trip, the Rock of Cashel. Of course we had to make our way to Blarney Castle too, to kiss the stone! Our first real view of Irish countryside in Country Tipperary. Yeah, I know, they’re just cows. It’s fine. I’ll never get sick of adorable Irish towns. I mean, come ON! Blarney Castle! Is the stone a little disgusting? Probably. Was it worth it? Also probably. And Cork City! Dingle
One of my favorite things about Ireland is just how compact it is. You can drive for three hours and pass five major sites on your way! It makes visiting everything so easy. Exhibit A: on our drive from Cork to Dingle, we were able to go ten minutes out of our way and hike up to this incredible Torc Waterfall. Worth it.
This was the first time during our drive that the scenery left me absolutely speechless. I was probably a bit of a hazard while driving and trying to take it all in, and I’m thankful that Lauren trusted me with her life ;) We pulled over to enjoy Inch Beach, this incredible sand beach surrounded by green mountain ranges on both sides, before enjoying the rest of the drive to Dingle.
Dingle is this quiet, adorable fishing town. In the mid-80’s this dolphin showed up in the Dingle Harbor, and the town has since adopted him as their own, named him Fungi, and placed a bronze statue of him by the water. It’s the weirdest thing and I love it immensely.
Great ice cream, or the GREATEST ice cream?? (Hint: it’s the second one.)
Cliffs of Moher and Galway
We said goodbye to Dingle and Fungi and headed up the Wild Atlantic Way to the Cliffs of Moher! I was beyond excited for this day. I can remember changing the background on my parent’s computer to an image of the cliffs way back in 7th grade, thinking, “One day, I’ll be there.” And there I was!! We had pretty beautiful though WINDY day to take in the view, too.
Don’t fall, y’all.
(perfecting the art of the dslr-selfie.)
And if getting the see the cliffs in person weren’t enough, the very next day I got to stand on the Claddagh Quay in Galway and take in “The Long Walk” of Galway with its iconic houses. Oh man, my heart was full.
If you’re ever in Galway, go to Ard Bia at Nimmo’s! You will be so glad you did.
Connemara and Kylemore Abbey
I sadly had to leave my traveling partner in Galway as I went on the rest of my trip (don’t worry, it was planned!), so I learned the in’s and out’s of my self timer over the next few days ;) Driving through the Connemara region was a bit like the drive to Dingle: I was absolutely a hazard to everyone else on the road as I just gawked and gawked at my crazy surroundings. It was rare that I drove a leg of my trip without stopping at least three times for photo ops. I mean, just look at these views… The west coast! And Kylemore Abbey. Can we talk about this lake for a minute? Really though, who wants to get married HERE?? The gorgeous formal gardens where I was thiiiiis close to being locked in for the night. Whoops! Le sigh. Croagh Patrick and Slieve League Cliffs
Alight, so these two aren’t really near each other at all, but this works ;) On my way out of the sweet town of Westport, I decided to go for a bit of a hike up a big ol’ mountain, Croagh Patrick hidden in the clouds. The next day, just before sunset, I made my way up to County Donegal to take in Slieve League Cliffs. If you think the Cliffs of Moher are gorgeous, just prepare yourself, because Slieve League was by far, hands down, the most incredible part of my entire two weeks. All that was missing were a bride and groom in front of this sunset, I’m telling ya. I had to make do with some new friends I found instead… ;)
Romantic, right? <3 You become shameless of selfies on solo-trips. Also you worry much much less about your hair. Wha?! Heyo fox! Sometimes you find a big ol’ beach and accidentally drive your rental car straight onto the sand. It’s cool!
Northern Ireland: Giant’s Causeway, Carrick a Rede and Belfast
During my final two days, I headed up to Northern Ireland to see all of the sights I missed during my trip in January, and I’m so glad I did. Giant’s Causeway is this crazy coastline of hexagonal stones, caused by a volcanic eruption.
And Carrick A Rede, other than being a surprising location for incredibly blue water, is the spot of an old rope bridge! Clearly a bridge selfie was necessary. That water, though! Any Game of Thrones fans out there? I got to take a little stroll down the Kings Road! And lastly, back to Belfast! With a big old fish And a pretty gorgeous nighttime view.
Oh, Ireland, how I miss you! Who wants to book to photograph their Irish destination wedding? ;)