Sheep. I fell in love with sheep, the little white blobs in big green fields, when I traveled to Scotland in 2013. They’re not something I see often in Maine (and certainly not in the same picturesque way that I did in Scotland) until my husband, Cam, and I recently (well, 7 month ago now haha) went to Ireland for a 9 day stay to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary.
I’ve loved traveling for a long time for a lot of reasons. And in my adult years, I’ve really worked to make it a priority because I value it so much. I love having a big trip to look forward to knowing it’s going to come with priceless memories, new foods, and cultural experiences you don’t get from staying at home or watching it on TV.
Our trip to Ireland was a bit different than other trips I’ve done for a few reasons.
Here’s 5 things we did that added to our trip (& were a little different!):
1. Rented a car
Your first question is probably, “Do they drive on the opposite side of the road in Ireland?” The answer is yes! I wasn’t sure I was ready to brave this level of driving but thankfully Cam was. So, we rented a car and embraced the experience! We received the advice before the trip to just be sure the driver is in the middle of the road so randomly while driving we’d say out loud “Driver in the middle!!” and it worked. It definitely took Cam more brainpower to drive while we were there (not to mention the roads are very narrow with no shoulder) but I’m so thankful he was up for it because we were able to see SO much and bounce around the island.
2. Didn’t book places to stay overnight
Before the trip, we gathered recommendations from friends and family that have been to Ireland. We decided not to go to Northern Ireland on this trip (though I wouldn’t be surprised if we go back and explore this part). We booked a few nights of our 9 day stay in Ireland in Tralee, Tramore, and Dublin. Then, the rest of our nights we didn’t book places to stay and instead just wung it! We mapped out a route we wanted to go and then would drive around and find a place to stay. This led to us finding a quintessential Bed & Breakfast above an Irish Pub in the town Dingle which became our favorite stop of the entire trip!!
3. Went out with our AirBnB host
At one of our stops in Tramore, we were greeted by our AirBnB host, his dog, and cat (they got an extra good review for this). We gathered recommendations of what to do that night since we were only there one night. He gave us the best local spots in walking distance and while Cam and I were sipping our local beer, we decided to text our host and see if he wanted to meet us out. A short while later we were drinking Irish beer with our AirBnB host and learning all about local culture. One of the things Cam and I laughed about after was that our host, likely close in age to us, said he really didn’t drink much anymore but meanwhile, during our time bar-hopping together, he drank beer like it was water while Cam and I had to take our Guinness to-go (which you can do ha!).
4. We left the city early
We planned our route so that our last 3 nights were in Dublin to make flying home more convenient. We found a nice AirBnB close to public transit into the city. We spent a full day walking around Dublin, and while it was a good experience (especially Temple Bar area), we both looked at each other after that day and were like “Let’s go back to the countryside.” So, we did. Our last day we got in our rental car and drove with no clear destination in mind but with the goal of seeing more rolling green feels speckled with sheep. I can’t even tell you what town we ended up in but it was a great end to the trip 🙂
5. Celebrated our 1 year anniversary
Our 1-year wedding anniversary was our last night in Ireland. Neither of us are ones to do big gifts for every holiday, birthday, or special occasion but for me, whose love language is “quality time,” a trip with my husband to celebrate 1-year married was the perfect gift!!
Traveling fills my cup. And Ireland is definitely high on my list of favorite places I’ve been. If I had to pick one thing about Ireland that I loved the most it would be this:
The locals welcomed us with stories.
They answered our questions about local culture with history lessons and personal stories. They helped us find places to stay when the ones we tried to stay at were full. They gave us full itineraries of what to do when we asked and did not disappoint with their recommendations. The list goes on 🙂
Oh, and did I mention, Ireland lit up my photographer heart as well? The lush greens, the sunny skies (we were prepared for rain too but it only rained one day!), the landscapes without people obstructing them, and the list goes on…
Now the question is, do we make yearly anniversary trips a thing? I’m obviously on board with that. Where should we go next? Let me know your recommendations in the comments!!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Hello! I’m Marissa, a brand photographer with a goal so much bigger than just “pretty photos.” I believe that your brand is your story and my job is to capture it in the most authentic way that meets your goals.
Based in Southern Maine, here at Marissa Elise Photography I am obsessed with serving businesses owners to show up (and yes, show off!) confidently with elevated brand images.
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