Hellooooooo lovely readers! And happy first day of summer 🙂
Those of you that have been following me for a while know that I have many passions – teaching art, making art, and travelling in the summertime. While my chosen career path will never pay enough (monetarily speaking) the two months off during summer is nothing to complain about!
I have had the extreme pleasure of being able to travel around the country and around the world for the past couple of years: from Israel to Italy and Greece, San Francisco and Portland (OR), Chicago, and even Burning Man I have been to some breathtaking places. But nowhere has surprised me and captured my heart quite like Ireland.
I travelled with two companions and we began in New York City. Though we weren’t there for very long, I had to get some snaps of the awesome street art we saw!
We had just enough time to stop by the CW Pencil Enterprise Shop and score some sweet pencils! #artteacherdream
From JFK we flew into Dublin. As we drove in (on the left side of the road!) I was delighted to see a modern city on the river with some excellent architecture.
Dublin is a very old city with some magnificent cathedrals and parts of the original fortress wall still intact.
The big park in the middle of the city (St. Stephens Green) was stunning on a somewhat sunny Dublin day!
And of course I couldn’t leave without some more street art snaps:
The view from the top of the Guinness Storehouse was stunning!
From Dublin we travelled south to Cork. The drive was beautiful, we passed lush green fields of cows, sheep, and wind turbines looming in the distance.
We spent a couple of hours in the city of Cork.
There was a building block covered in murals:
From the city of Cork we continued south to the charming seaside town of Crookhaven (also quite possibly the most charming town in the entire galaxy). It is the most southern point of Ireland and while we were there freezing our Georgia tushes off in winter gear, many Irish tourists were enjoying a summer holiday in shorts and t-shirts!
The town lies across a bay and has only 40 full time residents. It was quaint, quiet, and quite the hidden gem.
It was in Crookhaven that I enjoyed one of the finest meals of my life and here I am laughing about how deliciously divine everything is. #YUM
The bed and breakfast we stayed at had the cutest donkeys that were so sweet and gentle.
The real highlight of the trip was the impromptu kayak excursion in the Celtic Sea. We paddled through cold water that looked like liquid silver in the cloudy sunlight – it was the experience of a lifetime.
After kayaking, we headed up to some castle ruins. The townspeople were very excited to inform us that it will be in the next Star Wars movie – cool!
We journeyed west to Portmagee from Cork. Portmagee is another small seaside town with more delicious seafood and salty Irish fishermen than you can count.
We were extremely fortunate to be able to book passage to the Skellig Islands for a tour. Only 12 boats of 12 people each are allowed to visit this world heritage site everyday. I thoroughly enjoyed the choppy, chilly boat ride to the islands:
The big Skellig island was inhabited by monks a thousand years ago. They lived 600 steep steps up into the fog on cliffs above the sea.
The cliffs were covered in precious puffy puffins!
The climb into the sky was surreal and when we got to the top we walked around the dwellings still standing after a thousand years.
If these structures look familiar, that is because this is also a location from Star Wars. This is where Luke Skywalker was chillin’ at the end of the Force Awakens. This island was fascinating not only for Star Wars purposes but the ecosystem and habitat the monks cultivated.
After visiting the Skellig islands, we traveled a few kilometers to the Kerry Cliffs. Ireland has many natural and beautiful cliffs and we were thrilled to visit this one. In the distance you can see the Skellig islands:
Next we traveled to the west coast to Galway. Galway is a lively city along the water with lots of fun things to do including walking the green way and going to the beach!
I definitely got a sunburn at Salthill Beach – was not expecting that in Ireland! We miraculously had gorgeous weather the entire time we were there.
And the very best thing to do in Galway is a small shop called Dungeons and Donuts where you can enjoy delectable donuts inspired by nerdy pop culture references while playing board games. We stayed with the Star Wars theme and played Star Wars Carcassonne 🙂
After spending a couple of nights in Galway we headed back to Dublin. On the way we stopped at Birr Castle. Birr Castle was beautiful, we strolled through the lovely gardens and enjoyed scenic views. Unfortunately we missed the earl who still resides there which is a real shame because I am sure he would have enjoyed our hiking boots and flower crowns!
From there it was back to Dublin for a couple more days then back home. I loved this international adventure. Ireland should definitely be on your bucket list if it is not already. It is a country filled with friendly folks, beautiful scenery, delicious seafood, and the adventure spirit. One week was certainly not enough time to fully experience all of the beauty, history, and fun Ireland has to offer so I hope to return one day for more adventures! ❤