A Photographic Tour: Ireland

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In December of 2004 I traveled to Ireland for a guided tour.  I was so excited!  It was my first time overseas, and was my first real international trip.  (I’d been across the border into Mexico a few years prior, but when you live in Southern California that doesn’t count as international.  At least not in my book!)

I toured with CIE Tours International, and I had a wonderful time!  I was only in Ireland for five full days, which was much too short a time to get my fill, but it was plenty long enough for me to fall in love with the country.  The scenery was utterly gorgeous, and the people were charming.  I was particularly lucky to meet up with some of my Irish family when I was in both Dublin and Galway, and appreciate the effort they made to see me.

I hope to return to Ireland in the not-too-distant future – there’s still so much to see and do!  In the meantime, here is a semi-brief photo tour of my time in Ireland.  There’s more to the trip, but this will give you an overview.

My Tour of Ireland

The tour began in Dublin, and we started with a driving tour of the city, which included stops at Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  I saw pages from the Book of Kells at Trinity College and nearly swooned.  Such amazing artistry and mind-bogglingly detailed illuminated pages!

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Top: A busy Dublin weekday
Bottom: Landscaping detail at Trinity College

The next day we left Dublin behind and drove southwest, and I got my first glimpse of the Irish countryside.  Gorgeous!  Our first stop was at the Rock of Cashel, and I was literally giddy with excitement as we approached the stone ruins.  Off the tour bus, feet on the ground, breathing the crisp air, I felt so alive and invigorated!  Knowing the site had been there braving the elements for centuries was amazing, and I took dozens of pictures.

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From top to bottom:
The Rock of Cashel
Gravestones at the Rock of Cashel
Looking down at the village of Cashel
The Irish countryside

Continuing southwest, our next stop was at Blarney Castle.  What an experience!  The staircase to the top level consisted of dozens of narrow stone steps spiraling up – up – up.  The view was worth it though – the gorgeous scenery illustrated why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle, said to have forty shades of green.

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Top: The view from atop Blarney Castle
Bottom: The grounds at Blarney Castle

My third full day in Ireland included the Ring of Kerry.  The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive in the southwest, well known the world over.  It didn’t disappoint!  Some noteworthy stops included Dingle Bay, lunch at the Scaraff Inn,  and the village of Sneem, which was darling.

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From top to bottom:

Boats near Valencia Island
At our lunch stop at the Scaraff Inn
Wild flowers near the Inn
Gorgeous scenery in the village of Sneem

On day four we traveled north to Galway. Our journey included a ferry ride across the River Shannon estuary and a stop at the Cliffs of Moher.  It was very windy at the Cliffs of Moher, which made for an unforgettable experience.  I had to brace myself against the stone fence to keep from getting blown around while taking photos!

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Top: The dramatic and beautiful Cliffs of Moher
Middle: A delicious lunch of vegetable soup and a wheat scone
Bottom: Approaching Galway Bay

Our group visited Kylemore Abbey on the last full day of the tour, and it was a beautiful site.  Once a private castle, it’s now an abbey for Benedictine nuns and a private school for girls.  The main building, nearby lake, and the church tucked into the woods were lovely.

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From top to bottom:
The main building
The little church was nestled into the woods
Architectural details inside
Window details outside

I definitely wasn’t ready to leave when my departure day rolled around, but was incredibly thankful for the time I did have on the Emerald Isle.  I flew out of the Shannon airport on the west coast.

I’d  wholeheartedly recommend Ireland as a travel destination.  Just be prepared for the weather, which can change from sunny to rainy within minutes.  The Irish say there’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing, and since I was prepared with a slicker and an umbrella I was perfectly content.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this photographic tour of Ireland.  To see a feature about travel journals, which includes my Ireland travel journal, please click here.  Please post a comment if you have any questions or comments on either post.

Warm regards,
Melody

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4 Comments

  1. Posted December 26, 2010 at 5:43 pm by Catherine Ryan Hyde | Permalink

    Your photos are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Posted December 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Catherine,
    Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
    Melody

  3. Posted December 26, 2010 at 9:44 pm by David Zwirn | Permalink

    I am Emerald Green with envy!! 😀
    Gonna have to content myself with my “Explore the World” DVD box set I got for Xmas.
    Wanna see more pics!

  4. Posted December 26, 2010 at 10:44 pm by Melody | Permalink

    David,
    Emerald Green with envy? Good one! Thank you for reading this post…
    Melody

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