Spring Break Pt I | Galway, Ireland | Traveling Photographer

I’m so excited to share our first trip to Ireland with everyone. Hell, it was our FIRST trip to Europe and it was AHHH-MAZING! I can’t say that for the whole planning process though. As if planning a two city international trip somewhere you’ve never been isn’t stressful enough, we were one of those affected by the airline you may or may not have heard about going out of business -WOW Air. Yeah, bummer! After a struggle to get a refund, rearranging our trip and spending 2.5x the amount we did previously, we were on our way to Ireland.

We flew to Ireland on Aer Lingus (lol) and it was honestly one of the best flights i’ve taken. The plane wasn’t packed, we were provided plenty of drinks, snack and a meal and overall the plane was SO spacious.

Once we landed in Dublin, we picked up our rental car and began our two hour drive to Galway. By the way, it is not cheap renting a car BUT if you plan on leaving Dublin, it is necessary and worth it. My husband had the privilege of driving the whole trip. In Ireland the driver is on the right side of the vehicle and you drive in the left lane. If you think this was easy for him, think again. Homeboy was anxious haha.

We arrived to Galway and checked into our charming chalet in the countryside. We were greeted by our host and scones. Yes, some scones and they were damn good! Our chalet was everything we needed and more for our 3 days in Galway. It was clean, perfectly warm for the cold nights and peaceful. I look forward to returning and staying if we are ever in Galway again. Which I certainly hope we are.

Our first day we ended up taking a 5 hour nap and just going about 5 minutes from the chalet to the quay (pronounced key) and getting dinner at The Pier Head Bar & Restaurant in Kinvara. The restaurant is right by the water and driving there you pass a Dunguaire castle. I MEAN IS THIS REAL LIFE?! So from our table we were able to watch the sunset in this cozy restaurant as we waited for our food. For dinner we had salmon in a cream sauce and finished our meal with sticky toffee pudding and black forrest cake. It was a great start to our trip. The salmon was easily the freshest, tastiest that i’ve ever eaten. After dinner, like the old folks we are, we went back to our chalet and prepared for our next day.

Day 02 we drove about an hour away to Bunratty Castle & Folk park. Admission was 17 euros each and we had access to the castle and the cutest folk village that had shops, animals and plenty to see. We spent almost three hours touring the place. The greatest thing for me was just how chill it was. It wasn’t packed as you’d expect everywhere to be during spring break. Many times it felt as if we had the place to ourselves. It was tranquil.

PS- When in Ireland always plan for rain and in our experience - hail. Haha. Seriously. It hailed three times this day for maybe a minute each time.

After all of our walking around we drove to the big Quay in Galway. Here you will find musicians playing in the street and row of pubs and restaurants. It’s a lot busier in this area so there was a bit of traffic and paying for parking (pretty affordable).

Here we had dinner at The Quay’s Bar and Restaurant. We were sat in this cozy corner and listened to the live music playing in the restaurant. Again, it wasn’t crowded which was really nice. Here we ordered the Guinness and beef stew. HOLY SHIT! It was perfection.

Spring Break Pt II | Galway, Ireland | Traveling Photographer

On our final day in Galway we finally got our Irish breakfast at Keogh's Of Kinvara. An Irish breakfast is: sausage, bacon, blood sausage or as they call it pudding, beans, fried eggs, mushrooms and toast. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD! We washed it down with beers because when in Ireland! The place had a real local charm to it. Service was great and friendly.

After our breakfast we drove to Menlo Castle. The castle definitely felt more like an estate but either way it was gorgeous. We had the whole entire place to ourselves and our only company were the birds flying around and chirping. If you think this sounds like a damn fairytale it’s because it was! Take a look and see for yourself.

Our last and final thing on our list for Galway was to hike the Cliffs of Moher. It was a 90 minute drive from our chalet. The trip took us through nothing but country roads and cute villages. If you followed me on instagram throughout my trip I shared some of our excitement for the drive up to the cliffs. By excitement…. I mean terrifying. In Ireland the roads are pretttyyyy narrow. Add on driving on the left side of the road and a series of sharp turns up a corkscrew road and yeah.. TERRIFYING. Once you get there it makes it all worth it. We got lucky with a gorgeous day when we went. It was mid 50’s, sunny and blue skies. The hike is 8 euros per person but if you order your tickets online it is right around 6 euros per person. So buy tickets for anything you can in advance. Even if its just 5 minutes before you arrive or in our case, pulling up to the ticket booth.

Spring Break Pt III | Dublin, Ireland | Traveling Photographer

Off to Dublin but first things first - Scones! The petrol station down the street from our chalet had some of the best scones baked fresh every morning. Oh, and that’s me cranky because I was never able to adjust to the 5 hour time difference and ran on 3-4 hours of sleep. Everything about Dublin is so different from Galway. It’s much more fast paced, taxis can be found everywhere (there is no Uber or Lyft), the streets were filled with people… it reminded me a lot like a smaller, less crowded NYC.

After settling into our airbnb room and napping because that’s how parents roll on vacay, we redeemed our tickets for the Guinness Storehouse. Buy your tickets in advance. I repeat BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. This goes for pretty much anything in Dublin. These sort of places easily sell out.

My thoughts on the Guinness Storehouse- I could’ve easily done without it on our trip. We did it because it was recommended by many. Honestly in my experience, it was crowded and with it being an unguided tour, felt all over the place. We got through it, learned how to pour Guinness, enjoyed a pint and took a taxi to Temple Bar. Temple Bar is like a quay- a strip of pubs and restaurants and in Dublin people partying in the streets. FYI- keep euros in hand for your taxi rides. We didn’t come across even one that took cards.

Dublin shot on iPhone

For dinner we went to Boxty. Boxty is pretty much a potato pancake. I ordered a boxty filled with beef medallions and topped with a mushroom gravy. It was good but what my husband ordered was INCREDIBLE! He ordered the corned beef over purple potato mash. The corned beef was to die for!! For dessert I ordered the bread pudding. Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts but this bread pudding was unlike anything I had ever tried before. If no-one told you, you’d never think it was also gluten free. If you are ever in Temple Bar and stumble into Boxty, order the corned beef and finish the meal with the bread pudding. You won’t regret it!

Our last and final day in Ireland we went to the Jameson Distillery to do some good ole whiskey tasting. This was our favorite thing we did in Dublin. It was a guided tour with the most lovely, fun guides. The tours were kept to about 16 people so it never felt crowded and we got to sample lots of whiskey.

Our final meal in Ireland was at San Lorenzos and it was pricey but perfect! For dessert afterwards we walked to an Italian cafe called Dolce Sicily. All in all we got pretty lucky and only ate great food in Ireland. The food is incredibly fresh and authentic. My foodie heart was full.

Despite the setbacks during the planning phase of our trip, this was an incredible, memorable experience. Easily our #1 vacation we’ve taken. Ireland was a treat. It was green, peaceful, friendly… it was a paradise of it’s own. I couldn’t recommend Ireland enough. I look forward to the day that we get to return and see more of this beautiful island. Thank you for following along on our adventures.