Leprechauns and Landscapes!

My beautiful wife!

Okay, now that the “We do’s” and “We Will’s” are over I can get back to my third love (behind my new wife and flying, in that order), photography!  I’ll begin by stating how excited I am to be making my first entry in my “International” blog.  Long overdue, but well worth the wait…my first International trip with my beautiful new bride.  Before I get started, I must give credit where credit is due.  Barbara, thank you for being so patient with me as I stopped oh so often to capture the beauty of our honeymoon.  I could not have imagined sharing it with anyone else, I love you!

I struggled for a long time about how to display all Ireland has to offer, truth be told, words and images only scratch the surface of what this country offers to its visitors.  You truly need to experience this place for yourself.  In order to share the most from our trip, I’ve decided to break it into three parts…each covering one full day of adventures and adoration for the scenery of what is and what once was.  So take a break from your hectic day/week, go back in time and enjoy Ireland through my eyes, my lens, as you ride along on our trip through southwest Ireland.  Stay tuned friends…the best is yet to come, along with my personal travel tips for Ireland!

Day one…

The other side of the road. The “fast” lane is on the left…just plain weird!

We arrived in Dublin early in the morning (6am) to typical Ireland weather; cool, dark, gloomy and rainy.  It was expected this time of year and we came prepared.  Our first expected surprise came as we unlocked our rental car.  Not only would I be driving on the wrong side of the road, I’d be on the wrong side of the car, driving a manual AND shifting with my left hand.  Off we went!  Our game plan was ambitious, but doable…Dublin to Cashel to Cork and finally Killarney.  Leaving the airport along route N7  and merging onto M8 it quickly became obvious there was more scenery than time.  If driven non stop the trip would take about 4 hours, ours took 10.

Our first stop was Cashel.  Small town city driving isn’t what you would expect.  The streets are very narrow as space is limited, making small town city driving more hectic than big city driving in my opinion.  Complete with a meat market and a friendly (and talkative) traffic officer; the quaint little town offered everything we had hoped it would.  The highlight of the town is ironically, the Rock of Cashel.  A spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone.  We continued through Cork on N22 without stopping (regretfully) as the jet lag was beginning to set in and our bed and breakfast was still a distance away.  Hungry and thirsty, we found a local pub outside of Carrigrohane called The Angler Rest…I had to see for myself if Guinness tasted different in Ireland than it does in the States.  Now I must admit, I’m not a huge Guinness fan to start with, but it does taste differently abroad, it’s much lighter surprisingly.  We had a traditional Irish lunch complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, cabbage and ham.  With a full stomachs we pressed on and drove to the Blarney Castle.  Unfortunately the skies opened and it began to pour.  We left, adding the Blanery Castle and Stone on our “2nd trip” to do list.  The last leg of the day took us through Macaroon and finally into Killarney around 5:30pm.  The sun had set and our eyelids were not far behind.  Thankfully we had already made a reservation at The Woodlands Bed and Breakfast, situated just outside of Killarney.  We chose to base ourselves here for the entire trip because of its proximity to the destinations we wanted to see.  Buckle your seat belt and let the journey begin.

For optimum viewing press the “FS” button for full screen display, then “SL” button for a slideshow.

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Thanks for reading – see you next week with Part II of our Ireland trip!