During our 8 day trip through Ireland with the Vagabond crew, my mom and I got to stay at a few truly unique places, including…a castle! We spent a night at the beautiful Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara, and it was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in.
There is so much character to Ballynahinch. The rooms all have names; we were in “Caislean Lough,” which I think means Loch Castle. Here’s the view from our window.
The original house was built in 1756 as an inn. The current hotel manages to blend old and new perfectly, with lovely modern conveniences as well as historical charm. We were so charmed we didn’t even mind carrying our luggage up the stairs!
The grounds are absolutely beautiful and I wish we had had more time to explore them. If you love the outdoors, this is the place for you.
You can find more special spot shots at the original Lens-Artist challenge.
The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is a fun way to learn about the famous beer company and maybe sample a bit of their product. But what drew my eye in the souvenir shop?
And yet as pretty as they were, I didn’t end up buying anything because I rarely drink and I don’t particularly like Guinness! (I admit, it is true that it tastes better in Dublin.) I guess I am too practical.
Another cool display in Ireland was found at the Gougane Barra hotel: dolls from all over the world.
You can find more displays at the original Lens-Artist challenge.
A selection of doubles from Ireland: doors in Dublin, artistic deer in Dingle, and boats at Gougane Barra.
Church at Gougane Barra
And lastly, my favorite: my mom and I bought matching hiking shoes for the trip.
You can find more doubles at the original Lens-Artist challenge.
This week we have some candid shots from Inishmore of the Aran Islands. Of course, no set of photos from Ireland would be complete without some cows.
I don’t often post pictures of people here, because I don’t post family photos and I don’t often take pictures of strangers. But here’s one guy who just really wanted to get the perfect shot, even if it meant getting close to a 100m high cliff edge.
I also spotted this couple that was holding hands the whole way heading down the long slope from the fort on the cliffs. So sweet!
You can find more candids filled at the original Lens-Artist challenge.
The highlight of my trip to Ireland in 2015 was a visit to the rugged island Skellig Michael. I had wanted to visit for three reasons.
First, it is home to many species of birds, including Atlantic puffins, gannets, kittiwakes, and others. I was able to add some cool species to my life list and get very close and personal with these birds that are not afraid of humans. It was even puffin breeding season.
Second, the island is historically and culturally important, being the home of ascetic Christian monks for several centuries. They built the winding staircases up the rocks and also built stone dwellings. It is now a UNESCO heritage site.
Third, the island stood in for the Jedi refuge of Ahch-To in the new Star Wars films. They had been filming there the year before I went, and even though the movie The Force Awakens hadn’t even come out yet, I was excited to visit a Star Wars filming location. And I loved seeing and recognizing the footage of Skellig Michael on the big screen later.
But in the end, the reason that Skellig Michael is most memorable to me is the mental journey I took to get there. You can read the whole story of my trip here, but I will just say that I will always be proud that I was able to overcome my anxiety to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You can find more special places at the original Lens-Artist challenge.