Naturally, when we booked our first international destination wedding we had to make a 2 week vacation out of it because it just makes sense, right?
Ireland I think it probably the best first place to visit if you have never traveled internationally. I have, but my husband Dylan has never been outside the US or Canada.
The moment you get to Dublin airport, our experience was it was one of the most “chill” airports we’ve been too. Everyone was so nice, typical Irish, they were efficient and my favorite part is they DID NOT MICRO INSPECT ME or pull me aside for 45 minutes to swab my photography gear. I had a drone, 8 lenses, 3 cameras, and a sh*t load of batteries. They were like oh your a photographer, duh. God bless the Irish.
We left the airport in our rental, and on our way to our AirBnb with plans to go straight there (after figuring out driving on the wrong side of the road) but alas, you can’t do that in Ireland. We probably stopped 4 different times on the way to check in because of this….that just pops up on the side of the road. It’s like, OH, a 16th century castle! No biggie.
One custom I severely underestimated was afternoon tea. IT IS ADDICTING. You have never had tea like this until you visit England or Ireland. I really can’t describe it. But its so good, and the sandwiches, and pastries, I can’t. Plus the view isnt bad. Forget Starbucks, I am moving to Ireland and getting my pinky raising tea every day.
Let’s talk about their parks. And yes, I mean like take your kids to a local neighborhood park on a Sunday. In the US its like a playground, maybe some trees. Nothing to write home about. In Ireland though……its like this….
Free, and super casual. I was super jealous. Imagine the photo sessions that could happen here?? Dylan stopped to smell the roses.
Ok, so we finally made it to our AirBnb. We booked Drummond Tower, and let me tell you—its legit. You get your own miniature castle. It is both amazing, drafty, and a little creepy but in a good way. I really felt like I got to experience a piece of Ireland history without the mainstream hotel type rooms or any other guests. Total privacy. I would highly recommend it–if you are not afraid of heights.
The stairs were a little difficult to get our bags up. These stairs go up 4 stories. So we carried clothes up from the kitchen. YOLO
Our second day in Ireland we headed over to Trim, for our Trim Castle wedding. We wanted to go the day before to scope out well, everything. (Alex + Adam). Trim Castle is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Braveheart was filmed there!
After the wedding we made our way to the Cliffs of Moher. Its about a 3 hour drive so we stopped a bunch on the way. Everywhere in Ireland there are multiple little castles, and abbeys, pictured below. The amount of history just amazes me. Stepping inside something centuries old that is just sitting in the middle of a modernized town.
Ah, the Cliffs. We went in the evening to avoid crowds and we literally had the entire place to ourselves. It wasn’t sunny but thats what I love about Ireland. PERFECT lighting! It was actually really peaceful and quiet. Its surreal.
Ok back to Afternoon Tea.
We passed by the Muckross House in Kilarney National Park on our way to the Ring of Kerry.
Front yard: massive mansion. Backyard, zen garden and mountainous lake. Seriously?
The famous Ring of Kerry. I think the reason you see so many bus tours is because driving this thing when your not local (and apparently even when you are, according to our BNB host) is freakin SCARY. You take 0 visibility sharp turns, with essentially a one lane road with no speed limit. We were white knuckled and it was really hard to enjoy the scenery because you genuinely couldn’t take your eyes off the road. So we found ourselves pulling over a lot!
My favorite spot was Ladies View. It got its name because the Queen’s Ladies’ who would travel on the ring road would often stop here for lunch and to gossip during their travels between towns.
Overall, Ireland is a magical place where I *wish* I could live. EVERYONE is friendly. EVERYONE is willing to help you in any way they can. EVERYONE is prideful in the countries history and welcomes tourist with an open heart.