After painfully schlepping my heavy D800 DSLR all over Paris and the Netherlands, I made a promise to my neck and shoulders that I would never travel like that again. When we booked our plane tickets to Ireland for this past summer, I set out to find a smaller and lighter vacation camera solution. Anyone who knows me knows that I can research things to death, and I tortured myself reading article after article, trying to find the perfect travel camera. Fearful that I would make the wrong investment, I decided that the best choice for me was to rent. Renting, I discovered, is an awesome way to try out new gear without incurring the cost of a whole new set up. More money to spend on vacation made sense to me! I liked the convenience of renting so much that I plan to do it again on our next destination to Italy this fall. Since a good friend of mine was happy to lend me his Fuji lenses, it made the most sense to stick with that brand. I ended up choosing the Fuji Xpro2, which I found to fir my needs and be very user friendly right out of the box. Armed with that and my trusty iPhone, (curious if you can tell which photos here are which!) I was armed and ready to document this once in a lifetime trip to Ireland with my in laws, husband, and our kids.
And we’re off…
Day 1 – After a much needed nap at the hotel (we flew overnight into Shannon from Boston with little to no sleep) we were ready to explore the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. There we attended the royal banquet dinner and show, which was great fun. I highly recommend checking it out, particularly if you are traveling with children. Mine were especially intrigued by the dungeon. Threats of being sent there for the night kept their behavior in check too. 😉
Our first round of Guinness. Complete with a little boy who loved telling everyone he could possibly find that his parents let him drink beer (forgetting to add, of course, that it was only a sip!)
Enjoying the summer night (in sweaters!) at Durty Nelly’s, outside the castle.
Day 2 – When we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher I had to hold back my tears. It looked nothing like I imagined in the photos or guidebooks. There were hordes of people. It was freezing. The whole vista was covered in clouds and thick fog. I could barely see my outstretched arm, never mind the cliffs.
I snapped, below, what I thought would be my only photo. If we came all of this way, at the very least I was going to leave with a witty post on Instagram.
But then the fog started moving, the sky started brightening, and I learned the important lesson that day. Ireland will give you everything. You just need to give her a little patience. The sheer scale of these cliffs was awe inspiring.
After exploring the cliffs, (the crowds die down a lot if you are brave enough to pass the ropes beyond the main viewing area – I definitely recommend it) we piled in our rental car and made the trek to our home base in Killarney. My husband was all too excited to drive on the “wrong side” of the road, which gave me pause, but I do have to say that he did a mighty fine job getting us all there in one piece.
The view from our Airbnb rental home was breathtaking. Imagine waking up to this every morning?
The making of a new friendship…
Too many laughs to count.
Day 3 – It felt great to stay local and explore the beautiful Killarney National Park as well as the Muckross House Traditional Farms.
We ended the evening pub crawling and shopping in Killarney’s colorful downtown. I must have been too busy enjoying the moment to take out my camera that night. And, you know what? I don’t feel one single bit of guilt about that.
Up next on our journey…
The polar plunge, getting lost in the Dingle, a visit from the sheep farm, and more!
50 Shades of Green – NH photographer’s Ireland family adventure is part 1 of a 2 part series exploring my family’s summer vacation to Ireland. Kami Friday is a NH based lifestyle and portrait photographer specializing in photography of families, children, newborns, maternity and high school seniors.
You can find PART 2 of our Ireland vacation here.
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