Erin Go Bragh

I'm headed to upstate New York for my parents' St. Patrick's Day party, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite photos from our trip to Ireland.

I tend to take a lot of pictures of buildings when we go on trips.  However many you think I mean, double it.  ("Here's another building Gaudí designed . . . and here's the other side of that one . . . and here's the roof . . . ")  There was plenty of opportunity for that on our trip, but also a lot of opportunities to look at some pretty amazing landscapes.  I cut down to only a few and I am a strictly amateur photographer, so imagine everything as 5 times more vibrant and book your trip to Ireland!

One of the first stops on our self-guided tour was the monastic settlement at Glendalough.

This ended up being one of the places we stayed the longest, since a slight incident with keeping left left us with a bent axle on the rental car.  My mom got a bonus trip across Ireland to pick up our new rental (a ridiculous airport minibus) while the rest of us got to enjoy an exhilarating day sitting in the lobby of the exceedingly hospitable Glendalough Hotel with no cellphone.  Quite an introduction to the country.  It is amazing that my husband married me after this.

I have no idea where I took this picture, but my itinerary suggests it might be Kilkenny?  Kinsale?  Somewhere between Glendalough and the Rock of Cashel.  It reminded me a lot of Versailles, and I thought this river, with its little bridges and charming homes, looked especially French.

Speaking of the Rock of Cashel, it was one of many ridiculously beautiful ruined castles we saw.  I really loved it there.

It was one of the prettiest places we went.

We also went to Blarney Castle that day.  Here I am kissing the blarney stone.  I swore I wouldn't do it because it seems kind of gross, but I got peer pressured and swept away by the moment.  I suppose I have that to thank for my mad blogging skillz.

I feel like it looks like he's getting a bit fresh with me there, but he was a super nice guy who showed us secret Blarney Castle things because it was the end of the day, so please rest assured that he was a perfect gentleman.

Next we visited my ancient birthright, Bantry Bay.  Family legend says that we are descended from Lord Bantry (as well as number of other colorful or rich Irish characters).  Would have been pretty nice digs to inherit:

We went to Killarney next, which was probably my favorite part of the trip.  The Malton Hotel was really lovely.  We had a lot of fun going out in Cork.  But not at this place.

They were very, very closed there.

Last (for picture purposes), but not least, no Harry Potter fan's trip would be complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher.

I am a big time Harry Potter fangirl, but I had no idea that there was any connection to our trip.  When we saw the Cliffs of Moher, though, I commented to my husband how much this looked like where Harry and Dumbledore went for the horcrux.  He explained that it looked 100% like that, since they filmed the scene there.  I clearly should have done my research.

But he should have minded posted instructions!

This doesn't show even a portion of the beautiful things we saw there or the fabulous things we experienced.  It also doesn't show the crazy Irish traffic jams we kept getting stuck in (behind wandering cows and sheep).  But I hope it gives you some sense of how much I loved Ireland.  Sláinte!

(N.B.: That's a grown-up Guinness next to a Baby Guinness.  Guinness has adorable and delicious babies.)

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