Ireland + Week One | Quad Cities Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

I can't believe it. 5 years ago today we left the US for our backpacking adventure. It was 5 weeks of hiking, planes, trains, boats, museums, cathedrals, historic sites, learning, eating, drinking, loving, bouncing from place to place and living out of backpacks. We aren't vacationers that like to relax, we're vacationers that like to go and see and do things and that's exactly what we did the whole trip. It. Was. Awesome. I've been looking back at the photos a lot lately, wondering when we'll get back. My wanderlust is intense right about now.  It's a trip that so many people dream of taking and to you I say- DO IT. Drop everything you're doing, buy a ticket, get a pack and go. What are you waiting for? The right time? It'll never be the 'right time' unless you make the right time. Go. 

The stops on our trip were Dublin, North Ireland, London, Paris, Venice, Padua, Verona, Bologna, The Cinque Terre, Florence, Sienna and we ended in Rome. Daniel and I had both been to London and were dying to get back. We planned almost a full week in London thinking that we wouldn't be all that into Dublin. Boy were we wrong.  We were thinking Ireland would be our least favorite stop (not sure why?) but it ended up being our absolute favorite. The food, the people, the views- all of it was just amazing and wonderful and I just want to go back to there as soon as possible. I remember landing in Dublin and seeing the grass and thinking 'Wow, the grass here really is as beautiful as the pictures say it is.'

Our first stop- straight off the plane- was the Guinness factory. Of course there was the tour, but there was also a lot of free 'tasting'. A half pint of straight-from-the-tank brew when you first walked in, another pint at the 'learn to pour a proper pint' stop and another pint (or two or three ;)) when you got to the top of the factory. I should also mention that I was sick the day we landed. A cold snuck up on me and made me pretty miserable for a day or two. I owe my speedy recovery completely to Guinness. Did you know it has a lot of vitamins and micro-something-or-others that can boost your immune system? Yup. Guinness is truly God's gift. After the factory we started to explore food. All of the food. ALL. OF. THE. FOOD. When you think of Ireland, do you think of the food? I didn't either, UNTIL I HAD IT AND COULDN'T STOP BECAUSE OMG. Careful- foods pics ahead will cause extreme hunger.

We explored some sites a la the genuine tourist (like the Oscar Wilde statue, the Gaol, cathedrals, universities, libraries, museums...and a few more pubs) over the next few days before we headed to North Ireland. We stopped at the Giant's Causeway, another *fantastic* lil eatery, Carrick-a-Reed, and Londonderry. This was among the most humbling part of the trip. If you're familiar at all with The Troubles in Ireland, you know it was and still is a rough time in the memory of the Irish. We spent a whole day learning about Bloody Sunday, Londonderry, and the lives that have been lost. I didn't know a lot about Irish history when we went, but I'm so glad I learned all that I did.

Back in Dublin, another stop we loved was the Jameson Distillery where I was chosen to be a taster! It was pretty awesome for a few reasons- mostly because I'm never chosen for anything! But also because I really like whiskey and was able to taste compare scotch, scotch blends and whiskeys to see if I could taste the difference. I could, btw. nbd. I even have a certificate to prove it.

There are so many sites to see in Ireland that we didn't even have a chance to brush the surface of the country- if only we had known how much we would love it there! We really only went because Daniel is Irish and figured, better visit the motherland. We will be going back. Hopefully soon- when Charlie is old enough to enjoy the sites but not so old to be bored when we take him to all the nerdy spots we are into! Enjoy a look at our week in Dublin <3

**note I didn't take the big camera- we just took a small point and shoot to minimize weight on our backs. 

This picture is us being really sad to leave Ireland! Stay tuned- London and Paris are up next :)