This summer's solo trip to Ireland was fantastic. Nine days to wander and take photos of whatever caught my eye. I spent my time in the west and northwest of the country, seeing some new places along the Wild Atlantic Way and falling in love again with Donegal.
A few highlights of my trip were the Hawk Walk with Troy, the Harris's Hawk, while staying at Coopershill House, hiking up along the Slieve League cliffs in Donegal (and getting caught in a squall out in the open), exploring the Burren and being able to spend time in one of my favorite places on Earth: Kilkee and the Loop Head peninsula. And catching up with cousins in Kilkee at the end of my trip.
All my meals were amazing -- starting with "a bit of trout" at the Corrib Wave Guest House on my first night ("a bit" was the whole thing) to seafood chowder everywhere I could order it to the famed (and fattening) full Irish breakfast every morning. One of my best meal was at Murphy Black's in Kilkee. I was late getting to the restaurant (the Dolphin Watch Cruise went longer than expected -- likely story, right?) but they found me a table next to the serving station and I was able to chat with owner Cillian Murphy. Dinner was lobster bisque and seafood pie, with pieces of lobster, salmon, prawns and some white fish in a light sauce with mashed potatoes and cheese on top. I'd looked forward to having dinner there and I wasn't disappointed.
I discovered a new gallery in Kilbaha, on the road to the Loop Head Lighthouse. I fell in love with the art and gifts made my local artists -- too many wonderful things and not enough room in my suitcase, but I splurged and bought two prints by Carsten Krieger, a local photographer who takes amazing nature shots. The ones I chose were of the sea during a huge storm that hit the coast last spring. They are stunning.
The wildflowers were beautiful, with purple loosestrife and orange montbretia growing along the roads. I gathered a bit of each and put together a bouquet that I left at Loop Head for my parents. I took their ashes there after they passed away many years ago and I make a point of visiting the lighthouse every time I go to Ireland.
I took about 3000 photos in nine days. It's been a challenge to look through them all but I think I have selected the best for the website. I hope you like them.
I've been asked what it's like to travel alone, if I get lonely or nervous doing all the driving and navigating on the left side of the road. While the driving can be a challenge, I wasn't lonely at all on this trip. I made a point of staying in small guest houses or hotels where I could chat with other guests or the owners. I was with people when I wanted to be and on my own when I craved quiet. I definitely recommend it -- everyone should do it once in their lives.
I believe that a sign of a great vacation is wanting to stay a few more days and