Castles, and landscapes, and cliffs, oh my! Ireland Day 3

Day 3 in Ireland was an absolute whirlwind of a day, and definitely saw Murphy’s Law come into play from the start of the morning. We saw so many sights packed into eight hours and was definitely  Somehow, Kristen got my curler to work with an adapter the night before but it didn’t work for me that morning unfortunately, and we almost missed our tour bus! You’ll see why in a moment, but overall, it was a really nice day.

The highlight of this tour was Cliffs of Moher and I absolutely could not wait. We got to see several small and quaint towns along the way and I only wish we stayed there for a little longer. I enjoyed the castle stops too but found it hard to take photos close up, but got several good ones from afar, at least I think so!

Unfortunately when we got to the Cliffs it was VERY foggy, apparently this happens when it’s warm so the mist gets stuck at the top of the cliffs, I don’t understand how that works but it’s the only justification so I’m just gonna go with it. At first I was really bummed because I was excited about all the photo oops that place had to offer and how excited I was about going. But I realized as I walked around how cool the fog was. As Kristen had put it, it seemed like we were walking on a path in the clouds! I was definitely a little frustrated because it was not the excursion I imagined it would be, but it’s okay because I got some really cool fog photos. We also left our ponytail holders on a fence that had many of them linked up together. It was almost like the locks in Paris.We also spent a good portion of our time at the Cliffs talking to and petting the cows, which ironically enough was a highlight of the day. They didn’t like me but Kristen got along well with them. There, I got a really pretty celtic knot necklace from one of the shops, explored the museum, and we headed to Doolin where they had the quaintest little place to eat. It was rainy, and a little chilly all day, but apparently that was the norm for Ireland, so weather-wise we were apparently very lucky for the rest of our trip. However, I really enjoyed the rainy weather, aside from it creating fog on the cliffs.

On our way back from Burren, our last stop and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, our bus got a flat tire. So, we were stuck at a rest stop for a few hours unfortunately but thankfully got home in time to walk around the streets of Dublin for a little while longer. Like I said, Murphy’s Law was definitely present but it ended up being a great day anyway! We even ended the night eating at some really cool burrito place that, in my opinion, would rival Chipotle and Moe’s if it were in the states! I believe it was called Pablo Picante. So delicious!
Hope you enjoy some of these photos I took this day!
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Blarney Castle and Rock of Cashel

 

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Today was our first day where we took a Paddywagon to explore the greenest places we have ever seen. We explored the ruins of Rock of Cashel and Blarney castle, as well as visit Cork, another major hub in Ireland. 

At the Rock of Cashel, I was mesmerized by how intact these castles were after centuries, and our bus guide had told us many legends and interesting facts about this place. Legend has it that this was where St. Patrick first picked a shamrock and connected the Holy Trinity to its meaning. There are some more interesting facts here that he talked about. The intricacy of the tombstones were also notable and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery.

  Then we went to Blarney Castle where we hiked up precarious spiral stairs (and back down) to kiss the Blarney Stone. And when I say precarious, I mean so steep and narrow that you have to essentially grapevine up the stairs sideways. But, the view at the top was SO worth it. We could see the greenest of hills and so many cows. The women behind us on the way up were a little older and from Kentucky, and because they grew up on a farm they knew the real sound cows make when they moo, and so graciously shared with me and Kristen. It was quite entertaining to say the least and definitely enhanced the Blarney experience.

Anyway, I kissed the stone. It is a LOT lower than you think, I felt like I was going to slip off. So hopefully maybe I’ve got a little gab on my side? I can only pray. Overall the scenery was breathtaking and I couldn’t put my camera down so hopefully I got some great pictures!

Lastly, today we went to Cork and grabbed lunch at a cute little place called Gallagher’s after listening to some live music on one of the street corners, and had an incredible meal called “Cork on a Fork”— it was essentially a vegetable/pesto soup with salmon and potatoes. It definitely hit the spot and was exactly what we both needed (we felt a little yucky since getting there). We were wiped when we got back so we settled for some souvenir shopping and ate an equivalent of chipotle. 

So, here are some shots from mostly Blarney and Rock of Cashel! Enjoy!

An Irish Adventure

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Hey everyone!

So a couple of weeks ago I took a week long vacation to somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for longer than I can remember–Ireland! I made the impulsive decision to buy tickets to go with my best friend when I saw the flight rates thanks to Hopper and relatively great pricing on hostels thanks to Hostelworld and had a fantastic time. It especially gave me time to get out and take pictures which I haven’t had much time for. We were able to visit so many places on Paddywagon tours and just by wandering the streets of Dublin. I don’t want to bore with all of the details in this one post, but needless to say, I am so ready for another trip to explore more of this beautiful, friendly, and overall extremely pleasant country.

I decided I’d split it up by area pictures wise–I took over 1,000 photos so it was hard to narrow down. But I’d like to talk about each fantastic place I visited. I’d be happy to share any pointers about traveling in Ireland as well!

 

The Streets of Dublin

 

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Kristen and I decided to make Dublin our home base this week, and it was definitely the right move. I found us this fantastic hostel that was right on Bachelor’s Walk called Abbey Court which had a beautiful riverside view of the city. We didn’t spend much time in the hostel because we were too busy exploring, but it definitely did the trick. We met some great hostel mates in our 4-person ensuite every couple of days–even bonded watching a guy get chased down one night after a night at the bar that was next to our hostel.

On our first day in Dublin, we decided to just wander around the city and explore Dublin Castle from the outside, as well as a very odd wax museum which, honestly, I didn’t take many HQ photos in because they had a whole horror story area and I was scared. But, aside from that, we met some incredible people at the bar next door at O’Connells that night and toasted to making it to Ireland after a long day of traveling. It was karaoke night and everyone was quite excited about some of the American songs which was really entertaining, too.

We spent most of our days out seeing other parts of Ireland and only had the evenings to spend in Dublin. However, aside from navigating ourselves around roads where we have to look the opposite way of traffic, we discovered Murray’s which was a local bar that included nightly Irish dancers and a very strong “aesthetic” as Kristen and I liked to put it. The dancers were also fantastic and the whole vision one stereotypically sees of bar customers singing and clapping to the music came to life. Throughout this trip, I enjoyed the carefree, hospitable nature of Irish locals, no matter where we were. I would not be opposed to visiting again and I suggest traveling here to escape for a little from the fast-paced real world.

Our last full day was also spent exploring more of Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse, and Trinity College. It was a jam-packed day, but by walking around and exploring sites I got a good feeling of the urban side of Ireland after being in the countryside the whole week. We unfortunately did not get to visit Temple Bar, and probably for the better I heard it was a little crazy downtown especially with the college year having started and it would probably be super crowded.

Dublin Castle was breathtaking but a lot smaller than I imagined, Christchurch Cathedral was breathtaking and I was mesmerized by all of the Gothic architecture. I was even more mesmerized by the Trinity College Library and am really excited about some of the shots I got from it. We saw the Book of Kells there, too, but in my opinion the exhibit was a little underwhelming. Most of our day was spent at Guinness Storehouse. Although I have Celiac and cannot drink beer, I still loved the entire tour through the brewery. The storehouse was massive and I finally learned how beer was made. The bartender even honored my free pint pass and gave me a cider, after ASKING IF I HAD CELIAC (To be honest nobody really asks that, but I found out it is common in the UK/Ireland/Scotland/Wales area). I can’t think of any cidery or brewery that goes that into depth about their brewing process or have such an extensive PR campaign and I was very impressed.

Anyway, that was my time in Dublin in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy these photos!

Trip to France 2012: REVAMPED

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In 2012, I had the privilege of visiting France during Spring Break of my junior year of high school with my fellow art students. There, we explored all there was to see in Paris, Provence, Arles, Nice, and several random towns along the way that were just breathtaking, all through EF tours. At this point in my life, I had just begun delving into my love for photography and was enrolled in AP Studio 2D Art where I put my passion to the test—and ended up receiving a 5 on my portfolio that included several photos from this trip.

After 6 years, I decided to take look at the several pictures I took and realized that I have grown a lot in my editing skills since then, especially considering I did not even know about the Adobe Lightroom software. On my spare time in the last month I have gone back to the raw photographs, and re-tone them. It’s insane what a fresh pair of eyes can do for a photograph, and how each photograph still holds so many memories from that trip.

Here are some of the shots that I remastered all around France. Several of these photos were taken while wandering the city and rural towns, others were taken at the Louvre, every angle of the Eiffel Tower, and the Pompidou. I included a couple blurbs on some pictures going into details of what I remember or where the picture was taken. Editing these photos definitely sparked my wanderlust and I cannot wait for my next overseas adventure!