Travel Ireland: Exploring Adare & the Dingle Peninsula

Travel Photography

Who doesn’t want to travel Ireland? 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!

Fine-art, lifestyle photography on film. Leanne Haskins is a maternity, newborn, and family photographer located in Wilmington, North Carolina. These photographs are caught on medium format Kodak Portra400 film using a Contax645. All film is bought, processed, and scanned with Richard Photo Lab. Leanne and her husband Adam love to travel. Leanne went on a girl’s trip with her mom and sister to Ireland for seven days. These photos were taken in Adare, Adare Manor, Dingle, Limerick, Aran Islands, Galway, Clifden, Connemara National Park, Dublin, and Kylemore Abbey. This photo was taken in Adare on the Adare Manor grounds. Adare Desmond Castle is across the river from the estate. This photo was taken on a cloudy morning just after sunrise.


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. When we arrived in Adare, the sun had just come up. In Ireland, the sun rises at 8am every day of the year.  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.

Traditional thatched roof home with a yellow door and windows.

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.

Leanne standing in the middle of a tree lined path in Adare Town Park located in the heart of the village.

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.  Travel Ireland and you will find live, traditional music in at last one pub in town every night. 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.

Woman holding a Guinness in a Guinness glass at Pat Collins Bar on Main Street.

Landscape of a river with birds and mountains in the background. Tralee, Ireland on our way to the Dingle Peninsula at the mouth of the River Lee.

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!

Tralee, Ireland. The River Lee. Birds flying in the foreground along a green path that leads to a home. The river and mountains are in the background.

Sheep grazing in a field next to the river.

Sheep.  There are only a few 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.  No, when you travel Ireland, you will find sheep everywhere. You may notice that this one in the foreground has blue and red paint on it’s back.  Why?  There are two different reasons 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.

Landscape of a green valley with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. White fluffy clouds in the sky.

Landscape of the green fields of Ireland on the Dingle Peninsula.

A rainbow over a building in Dingle.

A rainbow in Ireland is quite a gift. 

A sheep resting on a grassy hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Sheep grazing in a green field overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Like I said, sheep everywhere.

Woman pets sheep as they graze on a green hillside with limestones in the background.

Green cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Green hillside dotted with limestone walls and thatched roof homes with a blue sky and fluffy white clouds.

AA horse eats on the side of a dirt road.

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 remnants of a stone castle on a green hill overlooking the ocean.

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. 

Rocky beach overlooking a cliff with snowcapped mountains in the distance. Travel Ireland.

Mother and daughter in Ireland. Travel Ireland

This was only our first two days of the trip people!

Continue to travel Ireland with me in Part II!