Capturing Ireland

A collection of blog posts from my travels to Ireland. Please visit my online gallery to view more  photography.

Ireland’s Most Haunted Castle

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I love ghost stories. From the haunted vaults of Edinburgh to the castles of Ireland, and from New England battlefields to the streets of New Orleans, I’ve taken every opportunity to scare myself silly. I even went through a phase in which I watched Ghost Hunters every week on the SyFy channel just to get travel ideas. Read More…

742 Pictures Later

Ring_of_Kerry

 

I returned home from Ireland in June with 742 new pictures. Some of them will become part of future blog posts, some will end up on Facebook or in my online gallery. Most of them will never leave my computer. One of the challenges I have after each trip is to decide what photo to edit first. This was especially difficult this time as there weren’t any once-in-a-lifetime-photos, nothing that will probably ever grace the pages of a magazine. But, as a complete unit, the pictures tell the story of my trip. Read More…

 

American Refugee: 5 Reasons to Visit Inishturk, Ireland

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Last summer I read an article about a tiny Irish island that would welcome American refugees if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States. It was a joke, of course, probably meant to drum up some tourism. Read more…

Yours to Explore: A Tour of Scattery Island

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I’ve been fascinated with abandoned monastic sites, famine villages, and other ruins ever since I first visited Ireland seven years ago. Their bones slowing crumbling into the earth, ancient buildings leave you wondering about what life would have been like anywhere from 50 to 1,500 years ago. Read more…

The Deserted Village of Achill Island

Achill Island Deserted Village

I was lost. Fog had rolled into Achill Island, obscuring any familiar landmarks that may have helped guide me back to Achill Sound and the bridge to the mainland. I’d lost cellphone signal and couldn’t use GPS. There were no County Mayo maps in the rental car either. I had this sense that maybe I’d passed from one life to the next, and my fate was to drive aimlessly around the island for all eternity. Read more…

Skellig Michael: An Adventure Worth Repeating

Skellig Michael Climb

A Dublin cabbie once told me he’d climbed the island of Skellig Michael—a jagged tooth cutting the waters off of South West Ireland—and he’s glad he did it, but he’d never do it again. I knew what he meant; I flung myself out of a perfectly good airplane once and would never do that again. I somehow managed to survive a fire academy in my early 30’s and wouldn’t repeat that either. Skellig Michael was different for me, though, and I didn’t share the cabbie’s feelings. Read more…

Hazel Mountain Chocolate: Yield to Temptation

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The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it…

I have seen that Oscar Wilde quote scrawled across pub and cafe walls all over Ireland. I suppose it’s good for business; if you’re trying to decide between one more pint of Smithwicks and going home, those words might inspire you to buy the pint. Read more…

I am the Falconer

Harris Hawk on glove

Last October, my sister Carole and I visited Ireland’s School of Falconry for an afternoon. I had been looking for a unique Irish experience, something Carole could go home and tell her children about, and this seemed perfect. Read more…

The Beara Peninsula: Secrets I Should Keep

Beara Peninsula

I shouldn’t tell you any of this. If word gets out about how unbelievably cool the Beara Peninsula is, then everyone will go there. The roads will become clogged with buses and nervous tourists driving on the left for the first time, and I can’t have that. I like the quiet of the Beara Peninsuala, how I can park my car just about anywhere and hear nothing except for the wind and the livestock grazing in the fields. Read more…

Around Inishmore on a Bicycle

Inishmore Thatched Cottage

My Aran Islands adventure began aboard the Happy Hooker last week. (I know what you’re thinking, but the Happy Hooker derives its name from the red-sailed Galway Hooker, a fishing boat, and not the other thing.) Read more…

 

Strawberry Field Forever: My Love Affair with a Pancake Cottage

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The affair began innocently enough. One evening, about a week ago, I was driving from Killarney back to Sneem via Moll’s Gap when I decided to pull over and watch the sunset. Clouds rolled over the sandstone mountains, gathering color from the horizon and red earth. Two black lambs grazed next to their mother on the craggy hillside below, and the only sound was that of the wind carrying the faintest newborn bleating. Read more…

 

Irish Breakfast Adventures: Duck Egg Quiche

Duck Eggs

I was out of eggs a couple of mornings ago, so I drove to O’Sullivan’s corner store in Sneem. The soft-spoken, grandfatherly grocer told me they were also out of chicken eggs, but they were stocked with duck eggs (which happened to be stacked up behind the front counter next to the batteries). He said they have a strong flavor, but they’re an Irish breakfast staple. Put off by whatever “strong flavor” meant, I left the store and decided to eat out instead. However, on my way back through town I had a change of heart and returned to the store. Shouldn’t I be adventurous and try new things? Read more…

 

Three Random Things About Lough Tay

Lough Tay Pano

If you have the good fortune of driving through the Sally Gap in County Wicklow one day (and surviving), you’ll see Lough Tay. It’s a lake the color of freshly poured Guinness, pooled in a deep fissure of earth between mountains Djouce and Luggala. You’ll want to pull off the R759 or pause at a viewpoint along the Wicklow Way and drink it in. Read more…

 

The Ogham

Ogham Script

I’m a sentimental girl, an incurable romantic prone to fits of nostalgia. Because of this, I have booked four trips to Ireland looking for…I don’t know. Lost love? A little white cottage with a thatched roof in which I can dream and write? The perfect travel photograph? An actual leprechaun or a metaphorical pot of gold? Read more…

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