We were so lucky and so fortunate to find a GREAT spring break deal to Ireland! I love to travel but we have to do so on a budget with a family of four, 2 of them teenagers that will be heading off to college in the next several years. In order to do budget friendly travel, we scout various travel blogs and sites regularly. I stay on email newsletters and am always looking for ideas. I base our travel plans on what kind of deals there are versus choosing a location first. Sometimes this means that we travel in the "off" season, we go somewhere that was not on our list or we have a different itinerary than the typical tourist, visiting off the beaten path places in a country we have always wanted to visit. I figure, while our kids are still in high school and living at home, we can take some of these awesome vacations.
Ireland has always been on my bucket list so when we saw this deal on Clark Howard's Travel Website through a company called TravelZoo we were hooked on investigating Ireland!! It was very reasonably priced ($4K for 2 adults and 2 teenagers WITH airfare direct from Atlanta, GA, 4 or 5 star hotels AND a rental car, all reservations made for us) for a weeks vacation. We arrived in Ireland about a week before the official tourist season began and it was perfect for us! Chilly, blustery days, great food, perfect weather (cold but clear) and we were off.
The arrangements were made through a company called Great Value Vacations and they took care of everything. We visited Dublin for a day, Galway, Kinsale and Kilkenny. We drove 800 miles through crazy tiny streets with stone walls on either side, windy roads and sheep in the middle of the roadways.
In Dublin for only one day, we hired a tour guide for a 3 hour walking tour of Dublin. We found this great guide in Rick Steve's Ireland 2019. It was a wealth of information and we followed it like a bible all week long.
Stopping along the way the way to the cliffs ... so many charming roadside stops that we just could not help ourselves from pulling over. ;).
Cliffs of Moher. A must see. Must do on your visit to Galway. Really Beautiful. However, we found another set of cliffs that might even be more beautiful.. More on that below... read on, my friends. Read on. Crazy cold and crazy windy and crazy beautiful.
Capturing my children taking their own selfies... I love this super fun photo!!
The amazing Cliffs of Moher about 1 hour outside of Galway, Ireland
As a photographer mom, I really really wanted to get in these family photos... so I DID! :)
yup... this is NOT photoshopped. Look at this amazing rainbow and my kids right in front of it. Breathtaking.
Sheep in the road. All over the place. All the time. Notice how narrow the roads are? It is hard to believe that two cars going towards each other can fit on these roads. Oh wait. They can't. So there are little pull offs all over the place. You take turns pulling off the road. Yup. At least you are not driving up agains stone walls in this image. but you are everywhere else. ;)
Super cool caves and we were the ONLY ones there. Images with no flash so really high ISO so they are slightly grainy.
Random stop on the road from the caves back to our hotel. Look at this horse just waiting for us to say hello. :)
A ferry ride .... cute photo of my husband in his wool hat he bought. He thinks this makes him Irish.
Just a random photo of a castle that we passed on a drive. Loved it!! Everywhere you look there is age and history.
Pebbles... love this texture. :) I wonder how long these stones have been here and how many people have walked here before me? Oh the stories they could tell if only they could tell them.
Kinsale. Our favorite town that we visited. If you go, you must visit Fishy Fishy. One of the best seafood meals I have ever ever eaten. The town was lovely, the people fantastic and the food was divine. It is know as a foodie city... many restaurants of all kinds and food festivals on a regular basis. We happened to catch one while we were in town and there were food vendors all over the streets of Kinsale sharing their restaurants savory treats. We picked the perfect weekend because we has samples from all the yummy, best places to eat. Oh it was heaven.
My sweet honey is his Ireland cap that he thinks totally makes him look Irish. :). Does it? Could he pass as a local? :)
Right outside of Kinsale is a beautiful vista of cliffs, ocean, birds and wind. Once again Rick Steve's helps us find tour guides who directed us to this location. We would never have found it on our own as it was way off the beaten path. We were lucky enough to go on a walking tour of Kinsale led by Barry Moloney of Don & Barrys Historical Tours and Barry told us about this location. One of the prettiest views of the cliffs and the ocean that I have ever seen. It was better than cliffs of Moher because you were right there. Not a long walk at all and just right. there. It is right at the opening of the Old Head Golf Course. We were not allowed into the golf course because it was closed (and we don't play golf!). I can only imagine what it would be like to play golf there! The views are breathtaking.
Our walking tour of Kinsale with Don & Barry tour. It was a great way to spend an hour and a half. Barry helped guide us on our restaurant choices, places to see on our own, things to do with our kids. We met is family at a food festival and even met his dad in a pub that night! Great family and a perfect way to learn about Kinsale. Read about Old Head Golf and the cliffs Barry told us about. It was a wonderful part of our visit to Kinsale.
One of the many charming aspects of life in Ireland are the old fishing boats in every harbor. They are so colorful and have so much history and charm. Oh the stories they could tell if only they could tell. I loved photographing these beautiful, unique boats... part of Ireland's rich heritage and personality.
Sheep. I love them. I had no idea.... they are everywhere and the sheep of Ireland have these amazing faces. Black faces and white bodies. Just precious. I stopped where ever I could do so safely on the side of the road and took photos. Yup. That crazy American with a camera.
As we wrapped up our trip, we arrived at one of the best hotels we stayed in over the week... Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort. WOW... this is a 5 star hotel and we were only staying there for the last night because it is just outside of Dublin and we had a 12 noon flight to catch the following morning. Had we known how great this spot was, we would have stayed for days and days!! :) It was such a beautiful location and a perfect evening that I grabbed my camera (again!) and started snapping photos of my children during the golden hour of sunlight. These are all unedited images ... no photoshop ... and I love them this way. Simple, real, honest and beautiful. Just perfect.