I have gone on a girls’ trip with my mom and sister every year for the past five years. Typically we stay closer to home, going to Charleston, Wrightsville Beach, or Asheville. But this year, on a whim, we decided to head across the pond and spend a week in the Emerald Isle. My sister, Melissa, found an incredible deal through Group Getaways that we could not turn down. It included air fare, car rental, and a weeks stay at Adare Villas on the Adare Manor estate. Yes please and thank you!
We landed in Dublin at 4:30am which is only 11:30pm at home. Luckily we were too excited to allow the jet lag to hit us just yet. And thank God because we had a two hour drive in the dark, on the other side of the road, to our final destination. Melissa was our fearless driver and she kicked ass even with her duo of backseat drivers throwing in their unsolicited and unwanted two scents.
When we got to Adare, the sun had just come up. You see, the first thing you need to know is that the sun rises at 8am every day of the year here. Also, the Irish are not keen on early early mornings. Their idea of early morning is 8am. Hah!
When we checked in, we were met with the best Americanos and biscuits (tiny cookies) we could have asked for. We settled into the velvet sofas next to a crackling fire and let the exhaustion set in. Checked in and unpacked, we took naps before heading out to explore the quaint village of Adare.
On Main Street you would find houses and boutiques lining the street that looked just like this. The thatched roofs and colorful doors and window sills made my heart flutter. I contemplated a thatched roof for our next home until I found out that they are quite unclean. As you can imagine when you really think about it. Ew. But also, so pretty.
We stumbled our way into Adare Town Park with this lovely tree lined path. As you can see it was a beautiful sunny day when we arrived. And the gods shined down on us for most of our trip. We packed for freezing rainy days since it was Ireland in November but we truly lucked out on this trip.
There were three main pubs that we visited during our stay. Live music was played at one of these pubs every night of the week. The end of our first day was met with a pint of Guinness and a glass of whiskey with a splash of water at the Pat Collins Bar on Main Street. We sat in the window watching people pass by as we sat and sipped and got more excited about the days to come.
The photo above and below, may very well be my favorite images from the entire trip. They have that painterly feel that only film can create in a photo. I only packed my Contax645 for this trip because I wanted to be intentional with my photos. I also didn’t want to come home and edit hundreds of photos. #havefilmwilltravel is my travel documenting mantra. Also, it was so much fun to receive these back from Richard Photo Lab a couple of weeks later and relive Ireland all over again. #filmwins
We were driving through Tralee on our way to the Dingle Peninsula in the early morning hours (according to the Irish way) and the sun was just beginning to pop over the mountains. There is a small bridge that crossed the River Lee so I meandered across taking photos of the incredible landscape as the sun peeked around a cloud and made those Irish greens POP! And can we address that cute bird flying through my frame? Perfection!
Sheep. There are just a couple of sheep on the island really. They’re not everywhere at all times, running freely across the roads and up on the hill tops like you’ve probably heard. Riiight. They are everywhere and they are cute. You may notice that this one in the foreground has blue and red paint on it’s back. Why? Well, we were told two different stories and both make sense. I think.
The first reason was that male sheep are spray painted so that when they mount a ewe to mate the farmer will know that that ewe has been “fertilized”. The scarlet lettering of sheep so-to-speak. The farmer would then move the possibly impregnated ewe to another field full of more possibly impregnated ewes. It’s quite a club!
The other reason was for identification purposes. One farmer would spray his sheep blue and the neighboring farmers would spray their sheep a different color, say yellow or red. That way, when their sheep intermingled on the hilltop they could get their sheep back to the appropriate farmer once the sheep dogs brought them down the hill. I could believe this one but guys, there were so many blue sheep that it seemed there was one sheep farmer on the entire Dingle Peninsula. I’m skeptical.
We were given this special gift when we arrived in Dingle. And boy did we need it. Mom stumbled off a sidewalk when I got too excited about some cats in a window (who am I?) and for a second I thought we were heading home. Luckily she was okay. Minor bruises and a lot of aches. Nothing a pint couldn’t help ease.
Like I said, sheep everywhere.
You would think we had never seen animals before. Like, basic animals. You know, sheep, cows, dogs, cats, horses. As we turned down this road toward Minard Castle, the car erupted in shrills at the site of this shaggy horse in the middle of the road. In Ireland! The horse was completely unfazed by the magic of this moment.
The ruins left of Minard Castle consisted of the three story, rectangular tower house that sits on a hill with views across the Irish Sea to the Iveragh Peninsula. You can see in the photo below the snow covered mountains of, what I’m only assuming, is Carrauntoohil. This place is not at all majestic. Not in the slightest.
This was only our first two days of the trip people! I’ll post another one next week of the rest of the trip because there’s just so much to share! Ireland is amazing and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to share this experience and this beautiful place with my favorite ladies. We are already talking about Ireland Round 2 come 2021. 🙂