Exploring the Emerald Isle: One Week in Ireland

In case you weren't aware - from my past blog posts, Instagram feed, or general ramblings - traveling is one of the greatest loves. Visiting the beautiful country of Ireland only furthered that love, and I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from last months family trip to the Emerald Isle. Our trip began in the south in a beautiful city known as Cork, which we used as our home base as we toured the surrounding counties. From the medieval Blarney Castle to the romantic town of Cobh, I think the few days we spent in the south of Ireland were my absolute favorite from the trip.

Climbing to the top of Blarney Castle was as enchanting as it was - well, tiring. Though I didn't personally kiss the Blarney Stone, there was a long wait for those that wanted to. I think the view from atop the castle was far more impressive! After visiting a few castles and churches in Germany, I think Blarney Castle is one of the best kept I've ever visited. The walls were beautiful and sturdy - and the stairs had been so smoothed down by time they looked modern! The city of Cobh was another favorite of ours. The sea breeze made the sunny day even more perfect, and we enjoyed an excellent meal on a buzzing main street, where the people-watching was plentiful and I found what had to be the best fish and chips of the entire trip.

We only spent about two and a half days in the city of Cork. While it wasn't as tourist-oriented as we found Dublin to be, Oliver Plunkett street proved to be the perfect place to eat, shop, and explore. I loved the criss-crossing rivers and bridges - almost all of Ireland's cities are settled on top of rivers, which, as a photographer, is just a lovely gift. If I could change anything about the trip, it would just have been to spend more time in this beautiful city!

On our third day, we took a train ride from Cork to Dublin. My sister and I watched herds of cows, rolling meadows, and sprawling trees fly by from the train window. I was so surprised by how fast the trip was! We arrived in Dublin around mid-day, and took a taxi to our hotel in Smithfield Square, which was a great location for us, whether we wanted to walk or take a bus to other parts of the city. We spent just about five days in Dublin, which was more than enough to check out all the popular tourist sites and explore each cobbled street! We actually got to know the layout of the city pretty well before it was time to fly home again! Here are just a few of my favorite shots from our time spent in Dublin.

On our third day in Dublin, we all took a day trip out of the city - a much needed break from our city exploration - and rode a bus out to the beautiful monastic city, Glendalough, nestled in the valleys of the Wicklow Mountains. Now I'm a total geek for moments, and this absolutely takes the cake as my favorite part of our trip! Glendalough is home to two stunning lakes, shadowed by rising mountains, for visitors to explore and even swim in! We managed to check out both lakes in the short time that we had there - and we were certainly not the only visitors there! Glendalough's entire site was covered with visitors, but occasionally we would find quiet gaps in-between leaving and arriving tours.

My Dad and I ended up extending our tour to a full day, which brought us out the other side of the Wicklow Mountains, and into the beautiful town of Kilkenny, which actually inspired the architecture and village-like atmosphere of Temple Bar in Dublin. We loved checking out a much smaller town - we ducked inside the castle and had a quick lunch right on the main street. Though once again our time was cut short by our bus back to Dublin, we really enjoyed exploring outside of Dublin, and seeing some historic areas of the beautiful country.

We spent our remaining days exploring Dublin, dining at bars with loud music buzzing in our ears, and shopping for souvenirs! Dublin is truly a sprawling city with so many beautiful details. I'm really glad we spent so much time here, but I do wish we had cut the trip evenly between Cork and Dublin so we could have seen more of both cities. But that's not a real complaint - I absolutely adored all the time we spent in the beautiful country of Ireland. It was nothing like I've ever seen in my entire life, and I am so thankful to my parents for the opportunities to travel that I've had! Thank you all so much for reading my blog about my travels to Ireland- let me know your thoughts, and what photos were your favorite!

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