it’s official….we’re going to Ireland!!! | southwestern, pa photographer | travel

By August 16, 2011 14 Comments

It’s official…….we’re going to Ireland!! Booked and paid for…I can finally get excited! Up until today it was just a plan… it’s a reality! ๐Ÿ™‚ Did someone say ROAD TRIP!?



Greg and I will be traveling around Ireland with one of my BEST friends from college, Erin and her husband Jeremy! We’ve done some pretty awesome things together during our college days and this will be yet another notch on the adventure list as well as a stamp in our passports!

The idea arose a year or so ago when we met up in Las Vegas for a week. We thought-well heck we both live several states away and it can be difficult to visit with each other several times a year. So we met in Nevada and ย it was awesome to go exploring the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, all of Las Vegas and adventures like riding ALL of the rides at the top of the Stratosphere -that we thought “Hey we should do this more often!” Not only were we getting to visit and catch up but we were seeing and doing things we always dreamt of. So here we are a year or so later booking our trip to Ireland……and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!

Here are a few photos from our Nevada/Arizona road trip. You can see more of our road trip by clicking *here*


We choose to see Ireland in way of the self-drive home stay…which means we will be driving ourselves around the country of Ireland staying in the bed and breakfasts. Why? Well for us, we wanted to stay in “real family homes” to experience the friendly welcome from the Irish homeowners. We have the freedom to decide where to stay and we can choose from a variety of different towns, countryside and farm locations. All of the B&B’s are owned by the operators themselves, who usually live on the premise and can bring a different perspective. I want to get to know the people, the culture, the region and learn about the local traditions. I want a REAL Irish breakfast and not the commercialized ones that we’d find while staying in a hotel.

I want to find that “little hole in the wall” restaurant that is owned and operated by the locals, I want to visit the castles, I want to meet local people, drive on the other side of the road and learn the local traditions and sit in the pubs and drink the local beer, I want to do the “jig” in the middle of a country road ..hahaha ….and experience sheep traffic jams..and find shamrocks,…and the pot of gold…..and take pictures….lots and lots of pictures!! And maybe…just MAYBE, I’ll bring back the “Luck of the Irish!”

If YOU have traveled there, I’d love to hear your recommendations of “MUST SEE’s” and any other advice you’d have! We only have roughly 2 months to prepare!

ROAD TRIP………… be continued! ย ๐Ÿ™‚


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  • st james gate in Dublin. Even if you don’t like guinness it’s a great tour and at the end you get a pint of guiness and it’s in an awesome room with almost a 360 view. plenty of photo ops there! { }

    house of waterford crystal { } tours/pretty things/take a tour and get some great shots! ๐Ÿ˜€ They make the crystal there.

    Blarney Woolen Mills was a great place for gifts or a gift for yourself! ๐Ÿ˜€

    obviously the cliffs of moher { }
    This is a beautiful site, there are cows around and if you’re lucky enough you’ll get a clear view. When I went the visibility wasn’t great. plan to hang out for a bit if it’s not cleared up try to wait it out!!! It’ll be worth it! I was with the Girl Scouts (2001 we took a 3 country euro trip, we were badass girls haha.. ) but yeah, we had a tight knit schedule so I couldn’t hang out all day.

    we stayed here and it was just gorgeous!!!!! AMAZING views!! ๐Ÿ™‚ They had dinner and breakfast for us and it was delicious!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I think that’s all I got for you! ๐Ÿ™‚ But enjoy, don’t look through your lens the entire time!!!! Take it in, smell the air, take your time ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m excited for you.
    I’m surprised I’m recalling so many places!

  • Jennifer Haas says:

    You will LOVE Ireland! We went there for our honeymoon about 4 years ago! BEAUTIFUL country!
    Not sure where you are flying in to..we flew in to Shannon and really liked it around there. Try to see Bunratty Castle and the Folk Park beside it. There is a great B&B (Bunratty Woods) down the road..they have the best breakfasts! Try to eat at Durty Nelly’s ( good food!
    Definitely do Blarney Woolen Mills, Cliffs of Moher, Guinness Drafthouse, and Blarney Stone…also try to get out and just travel the country away from the tourist won’t believe the scenery! Try to see the Ring of Hook, Rock of Cashel, Torc Waterfall (Killarney), Ring of Dingle (very narrow roads through the ring..but the views are SO worth it!)
    If you have any other questions..please email me! I have a lot of tips!

  • Jen says:

    Queen of Tarts in Dublin. The strawberry rhubarb crumble. You’re welcome.

    (Unless you’re allergic to strawberries or rhubarb. In which case: I’m sorry.)

  • Oh, you will have the BEST time! One of my all time favorite reads is “Round Ireland with a Fridge”. You MUST read it in anticipation of the trip.

    I did a semester abroad in Ireland in college. You will have NO trouble whatsoever finding all the local stuff. Renting a car will be the best way to go. The people there are so friendly. Warning: you will NOT want to leave! ha ha

    have a fantastic time!!!

  • just discovered your blog through your “won’t shoot ugly people” post (right on girl!), I’m a photographer from and living in Ireland. For me Connemara (where I live) is a must see, it’s a real beauty. Other places I love are Cork and Donegal. Another lovely place to visit is Cashel in Co Tipperary. there’s a beautiful guest house in the centre of town called Baileys and I can 100% guarantee you it is fabulous in every way!
    I hope you enjoy your trip over to us, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like any more info on Ireland I’d be delighted to help if I can ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lori Noe says:

    The Dingle Peninsula…don’t miss it! it’s the most remote, ancient, beautiful part of Ireland. We just hiked the Dingle Way and stayed in a B & B every night, The wildflowers, cliffs, beaches, mountains, valleys, hedge-rows, antiquities, sheep, more sheep, cows and the lovely lovely people made it a trip of a lifetime. The town of Dingle would be a great stopping place and don’t forget Dunquain where they filmed the 1969 film Ryan’s Daughter. oh, I want to go back!

  • Ingrid Owens says:

    Jen I’m so jealous! I’m from Ireland – a wee tiny place called Monaghan – but Im living over here in Atlanta now with my GA hubby. I miss it sooo much and you’ll be there at a great time of the year. Photo ops galore! Do try and get off the beaten track and explore the little villages. Personally I love the rugged coastline of Donegal in the NorthWest of the country. The countryside is wild! But so can the weather so just expect (and pack for!) 4 seasons in one day ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to seeing your photos – oh and if your passing through Monaghan stop and say hello to my dad – he owns a camera shop in the middle of the town ๐Ÿ™‚

  • erin says:

    i live in galway, ireland.
    renting a car and exploring the country is the BEST way to go.. you will get a chance to see so many beautiful places- i hope that the weather is lovely for you, because even though it’s still beautiful during the grey rain, it’s even more magical when the sun comes out.

    by far the best places are on the west, and the south. some divine rugged landscapes, beautiful people, gaelic being spoken by local tongue, a bit of craic. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    wherever you decide to go in ireland is sure to be wonderful!

  • Recently there says:

    There are lots of islands to explore off the coasts, but we are partial to the west coast – all the way south from Cape Clear Island where you can learn goat herding from a blind goat farmer, to further north off of Galway and visit some of the Aran Islands. These are quiet, off-the-beaten track places. Especially if you spend the night, and walk lots, and don’t get seasick, and walk.

    Also, don’t get a GPS in your car. Go by a tourist office and buy a good map/atlas and then have fun. You’ll end up in great places you didn’t intend to, you’ll have to stop and ask for directions and you’ll save a boat-load of money.

    Oh, and if you can’t drive stick, learn NOW!

  • Pearl says:

    Found your site by way of an article on your refusal to photo mean girls. Hooray for you!! In a big way.

    Just did a similar road trip with our daughter in late May/June and had a spectacular time. Booked accomodations through Irish Tourism office and got routing input from them as well (TomTom turned out to be a bit out of date and easily confused in places.) Loved every minute of it!!

    Must sees include Glendalough, the views from Geokahn montain (a wee detour off the Ring of Kerry), Dingle peninsula for sure (stop in Kilrush at Crotty’s for great pub grup before heading to the Cliffs of Moher), Tig Coili for Irish trad music in Galway (but it’s a bit of a madhouse…we ended up at The Quays instead and it was quite fine). We turned the car in when we got back round to Dublin and used the hop-on/off buses there. If you can catch Brian Brody at Peader Kearney’s in Dublin, it’s great craic.

    I have photos posted on a share site at Shutterfly. Email me if you are interested.

  • Carla says:

    Oh Ireland…I am so jealous!! I have been there, it was my dream spot to visit, and we did a tour (which I was very happy with!). I love doing touristy things so I did wait in line and kiss the Blarney Stone (a slightly frightening but fun experience!) and we saw the Cliffs of Moher which were gorgeous. The Slea Head drive is beautiful *BUT* it is a scary skinny road and there is a specific way you’re suppose to drive around it (because there’s really not room for two vehicles to pass each other…even though they have it marked as a two way road). Galway was I great place for live music and a pint as well. So many places!

    And if you can go anywhere you want, I would definitely recommend going to Westport in County Mayo for a night and visiting Matt Malloy’s pub. We were there waiting for our tour mates and this old Irish man came in and just started singing. It was one of the best things that happened while we were there!
    And I apologize for the ramble…I want to go back soooo bad!!

  • Kerry says:

    IRELAND: You absolutely must drive the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula!!! Overnight in Killarney if you can, such a beautiful town. The entire country is a photographer’s dream but this area in particular is stunning. Naturally, Dublin is a must and although I’ve never been I hear the tour at Guinness is worth it.

    Thank you for your stance on the bullies. I wish more people had your courage.

    Best of luck and enjoy Ireland!!

  • Aoife says:

    Like others I found your website through your post about not photographing the bullies and can only say well done on taking a stand and sticking to your principles!
    I’m from Ireland, and really hope you enjoy your visit here. As a post above mentioned, there are some beautiful islands, and if you are in the West Cork area I would really recommend taking a trip to Cape Clear Island, it is a beautiful place with friendly people, and you should get some beautiful photos if you get a clear day! I have filled many memory cards and rolls of film on Cape, could not speak highly enough of the island! Enjoy your trip!

  • Bill says:

    Most cars in Ireland are manual transmission so if you don’t drive “stick” make sure you ask for automatic transmission. If you are going into Northern Ireland make sure your hirer knows this and that you insurance covers it.

    Northern Ireland Tourist Board

    Irish tourist Board

    Must sees

    Cork, Galway, The Burren in Clare, Donegal esp the Atlantic Drive, the walled city of Londonderry, Fermanagh Lakes, Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, the murals in West and East Belfast. The Mourne Mountains have a curious light and are reputed to have been the inspiration for Narnia in the C.S. Lewis books

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