Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ireland Travel Guide

Dia dhuit, or hello! Recently I had the pleasure of spending a week in Ireland soaking up up their music, food, drinks and culture. Basically, everything except the sun. Even during their drier summer months it is still recommended to pack a raincoat. I forgot to pack sunglasses for this trip and quickly realized I wouldn't need them!

We made three stops during our week long trip, and I have outlined them here for you. I have also included some of my favorite spots for snapping those oh so important photos.


For less than €20 you can visit St. James Gate Brewery and get a behind the scenes look at how Guinness is made.  It's Dublin's most popular tourism destination, and it's not hard to see why.  I'd recommend it, even if you're not a fan of Guinness like me.  The highlight was getting a #Stoutie, or my selfie printed on my pint!  If I have to drink a Guinness it might as well have my picture on it.

Grafton Street is where you'd head in Dublin for shopping, restaurants, picturesque streets and pubs pubs PUBS!  Grafton is the main street, but there are tons of little side streets that offer better deals and quieter spots for grabbing a bite.  This umbrella picture was actually snapped on nearby Anne Street outside of Zozimus Bar.  I had been hoping to snag a picture here and my girlfriend was willing to be there at 10 AM before they opened to shoot before it got busy.  My best advice for getting a solo picture in a busy spot?  GO EARLY!  

The Temple Bar is the epitome of Irish Pub.  Located in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, it's one of the busiest pubs in town for good reason.  Great live music, more whiskey than a liquor store and great curb appeal make this an ideal place to enjoy a drink.  I made a few stops here while I was in Dublin despite it being a busy tourist magnet.  Again, if you want a solo shot in front of this iconic spot plan to come early before they open at 10:30AM. 

Instead of doing a traditional tour of their Bow Street location, I opted for a whiskey cocktail masterclass.  For €50 we learned a bit about Jameson and then had practice making three cocktails.  In the on hour class we learned how to make a summer punch, whiskey sour and old fashioned.  I promptly returned home and got to work making whiskey sours for Scot, so this was his favorite part of my trip!  This experience has slowly begun turning me into a whiskey convert.  My favorite drink was a Jameson, ginger ale and lime.  I could drink those all day, and essentially did while in Ireland. 

Where we stayed: The Ashling Hotel

This hotel is a great option for folks who are planning to use the train to travel to other locations in Ireland during their stay.  It was a quick 3 minute walk from the train station which made it super convenient on our travel days.  While it was very close to the train station, it's about a 30 minute walk from the hotel to the more popular areas of Dublin such as Grafton Street and Temple Bar area.  We walked pretty much everywhere, but liked the FreeNow app (their version of Uber) when we needed to get somewhere in a hurry.  


After spending time in Dublin we traveled via train to Cork.  I'd recommend getting around by train rather than renting a car and driving.  Even though I was assured we'd get the hang of driving on the other side of the road pretty quickly, a lot of the roads outside of the larger cities were teeny tiny and not always in great condition.  It was worth it to just grab a train and enjoy the ride.

FYI there is NO way to look good kissing the Blarney Stone so go ahead and set your vanity aside and kiss the dang thing
 A 30 minute bus ride from Cork is Blarney Castle and Gardens.  Home to the world famous Blarney Stone which I quickly discovered has no actual history attached to it, just lots of "potential theories" as to why it may be important.  I let go of my fear that I'd get herpes from kissing a rock I watched 20 people in front of me smooch and just went for it.  What no one tells you is that it is TERRIFYING.  You have to dangle backwards off the side of the castle while hoping that a few steel bars would save you if you slipped.  
We visited on a Tuesday morning and it was pretty quiet.  We breezed past all the "Your wait is 90 minutes from this spot!" signs and basically walked right through the castle and to the top.  We waited less than 10 minutes for our chance to kiss the Blarney Stone.  

Cobh is a little port city located about 30 minutes away from Cork by train.  We did Blarney and Cobh in the same day and still had time for dinner, drinks and dancing in evening.  Cohb is most famous for being the last place the Titanic too on passengers before making it's voyage.  There was a Titanic museum which we skipped in favor of walking around the city, enjoying some drinks on the pier and snapping pics at the gorgeous Deck of Cards.  This city was definitely the prettiest little city we stopped in, and I must have taken 1,000 pictures here!

Where we stayed: The Ambassador Hotel 

We stayed at the Ambassador and really loved it.  It was set up away from the city center which made for a peaceful trip with some beautiful views of the water.  They had a gorgeous dining room and bar area which we enjoyed.  If I visited Cork again I might try and find a place closer to the city center to make it more walkable.  Cork has some gnarly hills that will get to you if you're trying to hoof it back after a night on the town!


The grounds of the Killarney House

Killarney was a great place for us to see the beautiful country side of Ireland.  Dublin and Cork were great spots for taking in the city life, but it felt like we really slowed down and got to take in the beauty once we reached Killarney.  We took the train from Cork to Killarney for the last leg of our trip.

We decided to do a day tour of the Ring of Kerry which took us in a loop from Killarney around the southwestern part of the country.  Taking a guided tour was a great way to enjoy the scenery without worrying about the narrow roads and poor visibility if it's foggy.  I enjoyed the view despite the fog which our guide told us sticks around a good part of the year.  If I had to do this tour again I would have worn a hate or slicked my hair into a low bun because with wind was my arch nemesis and ruined most of my photos!

Killarney National Park was where I really started to appreciate Ireland's beauty.  I have never seen grass so green before, even when I lived in the rainy Pacific Northwest.  Every time I sent a picture to Scot he thought I had filtered the grass to look neon green, but it was just that gorgeous! You can start your walking tour of the park at the Killarney House (pictured above) which is located super close to the city center.  I would have loved to have more time for some hiking.

Where we stayed: International Hotel

This was definitely our most conveniently located hotel.  It was a 5 minute walk from the train station and close to all the pubs and shops.  We could walk everywhere and never needed a taxi. The fact that the hotel was gorgeous didn't hurt at all!  From here we took the train back to Dublin before flying out the next day.

I felt like my week in Ireland was action packed and really allowed me to see multiple areas and lifestyles.  If you have visited Ireland, what did you love about it?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Summer 2018 Looks

It seems as if I have been a little MIA on the blog lately.  I have recently changed how I do my photography and have been more active on Instagram and less so here.  I no longer am using my DSLR as much, and I'm editing and posting mostly from my phone.  I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things and keep things up around here, but I am no so sure that traditional blogging (one outfit per post with multiple pictures of the same look) is even something I enjoy as much.  I certainly don't read anyone's fashion blog anymore.  I just follow them on Insta and feel a better connection there.  I haven't quite decided the fate of this blog, but I thought I'd share a quick update!

 Here is a wrap up of some of my favorite looks from this summer!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hometown Glory

I really love my hometown.  I grew up in West Lafayette, IN home to Purdue University... and me!    I grew up here and also went to Purdue, so this was my city for 22 years.  Now I live in Indianapolis, but like to visit when I can.  I recently took a day trip back home to snag some photos in my city.  Lucky for me my bestie is also from Lafayette, so we got to go together!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Jumpsuit Riot

By this point I think most of my readers know I love a good bargain.  I don't pay full price for anything (I can count two items in the last few years I paid retail), and I always love me a good deal.  This jumpsuit from would have been insanely affordable as is, but snagging it at over 50%?  Yes please!  It's perfect for those summer nights where you want something other than a sundress, but don't want to overheat.  It also doubled perfectly as lounge wear when I got home and parked it on the couch to watch movies with Scot! 
Jumpsuit|Forever21   Shoes&Bag|A New Day   Jacket|Loft

Shout out to Amanda Matthews Photography for the wonderful photos!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Triple Threat | Sweet Spring Style

There are a few things I have learned about real girl fashion in 2018.  1) The shoulders are continuing to have their moment.  I've purchased more off the shoulder tops and dresses in the past 24 months than I ever have in my entire life.  When this trend goes up in flames I'll be scrambling to figure out how to continue wearing my pieces.  2)Gingham gingham everywhere and I ain't mad at it.  3)Midi dresses are the new spring staple.  So how luck was I to find a dress that has all 3 of my favorite elements AND comes in my favorite color??  This dress from Old Navy checked (get IT?) all my boxes and didn't even cost me $50.  I am tentatively planning to wear this dress when I go to Oktoberfest in Munich for Scot's birthday later this year!

Side note: How incredible are these photos from Amanda Matthews photography?  The day we shot this look was about 293041234 degrees in direct sun AND I cut my knee and was bleeding down my leg and she still managed to make me look good.  I was literally sweating buckets(glam, I know) and carrying around a bloody tissue to tend to my knee and she was amazing!
Dress|Old Navy   Sandals|Old Navy   Bag|Longaberger