Ireland Summer Roadtrip

Ireland Summer Roadtrip

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I found an incredible deal on a one-way flight to Dublin, Ireland for $99 on Wow Air this past July.  I wanted to visit my friend Conor McNeill in Belfast and we made plans for a photo road trip.  I met Conor while he was an instructor on the F8 Faroe Islands Photography Workshop, so needless to say, he’s an amazing landscape photographer.  Conor is from Belfast, so I was very lucky to have him to show me his favorite places in Northern Ireland and Ireland. 

When I arrived in Dublin I rented a car and spent one night in a hostel before making the 3 hour drive north to Belfast.  When I met up with Conor, being the landscape lover that he is, he had no interest in being my tour guide around the city. We made a quick stop for fish and chips and a visit to look at the Titanic Museum, built at the location where the Titanic was built over a century ago.

 Conor snapped this photo of me in my traveling hot dog costume at the Dark Hedges.

Conor snapped this photo of me in my traveling hot dog costume at the Dark Hedges.

Once outside the city, our first stop was the Dark Hedges, made famous by Instagram and Game of Thrones. It's funny how so many places I've come across in Ireland and Iceland are famous for being filming locations from Game of Thrones. The Dark Hedges were apparently only featured in a minor scene, but somehow the road became so popular that we encountered tour buses driving through.

After the hedges we continued to the northern coast to Ballintoy Harbor. The harbor and lush green bit of coastline I found to be a perfect location to fly my drone.  I couldn’t believe how green (Northern) Ireland really is, and this was in July!

 Freshly shorn sheep grazing on freshly shorn grass at Ballintoy.

Freshly shorn sheep grazing on freshly shorn grass at Ballintoy.

 

Giant's Causeway

 Giant's Causeway shot on film.

Giant's Causeway shot on film.

Giant's Causeway is a collection of basalt column formations created by a volcanic eruption many millions of years ago. The liquid lava rock cooled and hardened, splitting apart to form these tubes of rock.  I'm so fascinated by all things volcanic, and I seek out volcanic rock formations around the world. I've visited similar types of rock columns all over Iceland, at St Mary's Island in India, Takachiho Gorge in Kyushu Japan, and Devil's Postpile in California.  Its super cool to see these naturally occurring geometric shapes.

 Northern Ireland was amidst a patriotic annual celebration. Union Jacks and colored banners spanned the main drag of every small town we drove through.  This charming town is Bushmills, home to the famous Bushmills Whiskey distillery.

Northern Ireland was amidst a patriotic annual celebration. Union Jacks and colored banners spanned the main drag of every small town we drove through.  This charming town is Bushmills, home to the famous Bushmills Whiskey distillery.

 

WILD ATLANTIC WAY

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An especially scenic leg of our trip was the stretch we drove of the Wild Atlantic Way. Adding to the charm of the drive, a brilliant graphic designer came up with the logo for the Wild Atlantic Way; a zigzag design from the letters 'WAW'.

The next day we continued along to Wild Atlantic Way to Slieve League, which are among the highest cliffs in Europe.  It would have added a lot of driving on to our trip to see the Cliffs of Moher, so instead we opted to visit Slieve League (which Conor says is cooler anyway).  And yes of course I flew my drone from the edge of the cliffs.

 Medium format film photo.The lesser known cliffs of Ireland; Slieve League, 609m (1,998 feet) tall. The Cliffs of Moher are only 214m (702 feet) tall. 

Medium format film photo.The lesser known cliffs of Ireland; Slieve League, 609m (1,998 feet) tall. The Cliffs of Moher are only 214m (702 feet) tall. 

 

Bundoran

I made sure we stopped through Bundoran, because I had read that this holiday beach town is Ireland's surfing hub.  I am not the best surfer, but somehow I've managed to surf all over the world, from South Africa to Bali. We made the trip out to a popular surfing beach called Tullan Strand, but the waves didn't have me convinced that it was worth it to jump in the cold water... 

 

COUNTY GALWAY

Continuing southwest from Bundoran we made our way to the County Galway area.  This area of was exactly what I imagined Ireland would be like, I wish we had more time to spend there exploring.  

 Mamiya 7ii film photos.  Above: Kylemore Abbey, Below Left: Connemara National Park, Below Right: The very cute little town of Cong

Mamiya 7ii film photos.  Above: Kylemore Abbey, Below Left: Connemara National Park, Below Right: The very cute little town of Cong

 
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No trip for me would be complete without some dedicated animal time. We visited Joyce Country Sheepdogs to watch a sheepdog herding demonstration, and to squeal at and squeeze the adorable sheepdog puppies.

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Because Conor and I can't get enough of dogs (and me of sheep) we watched another sheepdog demonstration at Killary Sheep Farm, and I also participated in a sheep shearing demo. 

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After our puppy and sheep time, we made our way east and back to Dublin. In Dublin, Conor and I said our goodbyes and I caught my series of flights that brought me to next destination; Greenland.  

Ilulissat: "Paris of Greenland"

Ilulissat: "Paris of Greenland"

DRONE360 Magazine Feature

DRONE360 Magazine Feature