Year in review series - Part 1 - The Ireland Trip

I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks that this year completely flew by!!!

It must be my age that is giving me this effect, or it is the technology era that makes so much happen at the same time! 

This year was special because I traveled a bit, and been to places in the world that I never been before. It is true what they say about traveling and how much it adds to who you are. Experiences are more valuable than any handbag!!

On that note I want to tell you about the first time I have been to Europe. But let's start from the begining. 

 This is Luara

This is Luara

This is my friend Luara, we met we I was probably 12 years old. We had friends in common, and our families had houses at the same beach. Few years later we happen to be going to the same college, going for the same degree, and our first internship was at the same place. So as you can imagine we were pretty close! 

Fast forward to 2007 I moved to the USA. Fast forward to 2016 she moved to Galway, Ireland. 

This was my lucky year because I got to visit her, from this tiny beach in Brazil, where we would spend all day in the beach and walk barefoot on the streets, to this beautiful town in Ireland that neither of us knew it existed! 

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Ireland is pretty amazing! It has so much history, and it is incredible to see that many people that live there have a simple life, and how much beauty there is in having just the necessary, and connecting with nature a lot more than connecting with the internet! 

The main plan was to spend my birthday away with one of my best friends in another country. Having an adventure and making unforgettable! End of July was the plan, and things felt together pretty nicely! On my first day in Ireland I spent the day exploring Dublin.

So my itinerary In Dublin was:

- Trinity College & Book of Kells: The college was founded in 1592 and as you would imagine it is like walking into the old world! I took the tour with one of the students and for that half an hour I wanted to be able to turn my life around and be a student there too. I could only imagine what it would be like to live in the housing where you have to go outside to enter the bathroom, or go thru the hallways of such an old building everyday! I loved the tour and would totally advice people to take it so they can learn more about the history of the college. 

- Temple Bar: this was the busiest area! and a must go at night time when all pubs are open and full of people. 

- St Stephen's Green: I was lucky! Even though it was Summer, apparently the weather there is never really warm. My day in Dublin was a nice sunny day so e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y was out! St Stephen's Green is a lovely little park and a meeting point! Great for a walk and get in touch with nature! 

- Dublin Castle & St. Patrick's Church: I did a spin around Dublin castle, but since I only had one day in Dublin I couldn't take all the tours! It was cool to see a real castle in the middle of the city. St Patrick's Church was beautiful but I didn't go in. 

Next day I had a day trip to Northern Ireland! I was pretty excited about this specially because I am a Game of Thrones fan, and I know they film there. Our day was jam packed, and that is pretty much how I roll on vacation. Zero rest, one hundred percent exploration. 

Northern Ireland is so exciting if you love to see amazing views, and it is not your everyday "bread and butter" kind of road trip! Bonus point for me trying to drive on the wrong side of the road for the first time !

We started driving to Belfast to visit the Titanic museum. Fun fact that I didn't know until this trip: the Titanic was build in Belfast and not in Southampton, England where it departured to its first and only official trip. The museum itself was a bit disappointing. From there we went to my favorite attraction of the day. It is called the Gobbins, and it is a path at the bottom of the cliff where you get to experience the cliffs from one unique point of view. So awesome! It is a guided tour, and they fill out fast so book ahead of time if you ever plan to go there! 

As I mentioned before, Ireland it is not known by its amazing weather. We got lucky so far thru the day but after this point the rain would come and go. To my amazement the rain would stop everytime we got to the next destination. 

Next stop was Carrick-a-rede, and it is a rope bridge that allows you to cross to a little island. It spans 20 meters and is 30 meters above the rocks below. I was pretty damn excited to cross this bridge, but because of the on-and-off rain they were closed and no one was allowed to cross. I was ready to jump over whatever it was blocking my way, but they have one heady duty prison door there and there is no way I could do it, which I'm glad because I think I would probably die falling off if I did, lol. 

From there we drover to Giant's Causeway, which is is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. In other words is one of those amazing things nature can come up with and causes us to just wonder... how...??... 

The 2 last stops were Dunluce Castle which was closed so we only enjoyed the view, and dark hedges which is this road with crazy beautiful tree that were also featured on Game of Thornes. Overall was a 8 hour drive and we were totally exausted by the time we got back to Dublin. I just wish I had more time there, that is for sure!

And then off I went to Galway, to see Luara! One of those friends that will be your friend forever! And no matter the time you spend apart it will always be the same! 

Galway is adorable! A city full of young people and full of culture! My visit was at the same time as a festival, which made it extra fun!

(So a little back story here, when I was younger I was a big fan of romance books, specially Nora Roberts books. In so many books Nora wrote are in Ireland and she talks about the cliffs!)

Cliffs of Moher was a day tour I took to the most amazing cliffs I ever saw in my life. I can only imagine how it would look like in a sunny day! I didn't have enough time to walk the whole thing, but if you have the opportunity try to drive there so you can stay as much time as you want. It is a little bit of a free for all. You walk the trail at your own risk since they don't have the barriers everywhere, and for me that is the best. I tried to get close to the edge, but I was too scared! This was also where a scene of the Harry Potter movie was shot! 

And later that day I celebrated my birthday! =)

Over the weekend we had another road trip and we did 2 routes. 

Ring of Kerry and Ring of Dingle. 

Many many sheep along the way. Super cute and as expected breathtaking view all over the place! One of those drives that you don't notice that you stay in the car all day! None stop stops for pictures and many discoveries along the way! 

I would love to come back to Ireland! Maybe my friend will meet and marry a prince or something, who knows right?!

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