Friday, October 26, 2012

Ireland Part 2- Day 3 Kilkenny to Dublin via Gorey

Today was one of those days that will stay with me for quite some time- one that makes me happy that I'm the type of person that I am. Which may seem like a weird thing to say. But especially in light of the upcoming election, my experience today has reinforced my choice to put my energy towards making personal connections as opposed to knowing the ins and outs of the American political system or being up to date on everything going on in the news. I often feel like I'm living in a bubble and that I'm very cut off from current/real world events. But let's face it, between my husband, my twin and my mom, they've got it more than covered in my family.

A lot of you know that I'm big into Instagram. It's been a huge creative outlet for me and it's been a welcoming and fun community. I've managed to write about it for work and I've said on multiple occasions that by the time I wake up and scroll through my IG feed, I feel like I've already been on a trip around the world.

I have purposely followed a handful of talented photographers in Ireland. Because when I long to be there, Instagram gives me the opportunity to feel like I am simply by looking at the amazing photos that some of my IG friends post. So when I was putting the finishing touches on our trip together just a week or so before I actually got on the plane, I used the comment feed of someone who has provided me with some IGspiration to arrange for an IG meet-up. And I'm *so* glad that I did.

But before we could get to the meet-up, we had a little bit of exploring to do in/near Kilkenny.

Our day was a little stressful because we were of course running behind- the theme of the trip. We got up and had a wonderful breakfast (if you're planning a visit to Ireland and want to go to Kilkenny, I absolutely recommend staying at the Newlands Lodge) and then on the recommendation of our hosts, took off in the opposite direction of town to check out the Kells Priory.

We didn't know exactly what to expect, but it was pretty cool! The sheep roam the grounds freely so you can get up and close and personal with them while you walk around and explore the massive grounds of the Priory. There's obviously a lot of history that I know nothing about (note to self: read about Kells Priory so you don't sounds like an ignorant ass), but Katie and I were grateful to check this out before heading into Kilkenny.

We got some exceptional photos that was made relatively easy because the backdrop was practically perfect:

From there we stopped into Kilkenny to check out the house and pub my dad frequented:

And then we took off for Gorey where we were meeting up with FT at the Seafield Golf & Spa. We connected briefly to hug and then took off for FT's house. Thankfully we were following her, otherwise we never would have ended up in the same place. And thankfully Katie and I stopped laughing long enough for her to get our obnoxious blue car up the driveway without rolling backwards or tearing up the driveway.

We got to her very sweet house, high on a hill (Tara Hill to be exact), met her equally lovely husband and then took off on the walk I'd been dreaming of for months and following on Instagram for even longer. Having spent the better part of nearly three weeks stirring Guinness with french fries, it was immediately evident just how out of shape I had gotten. Even though I had high hopes and lovely intentions of working out regularly on my trip, this walk was the first real bit of activity I had done since the day I landed in Ireland.

But we spent a lovely couple of hours walking in the woods behind FT's house, learning about one another and, surprisingly, catching up like old friends. It's this crazy thing, you know? Before this trip I knew very little about FT. But one of the magical things about Instagram is that you get to learn a lot about people through the photos they post. And I knew it was a perfectly reasonable choice to meet up with someone I've never met and go on a walk in the woods in a place I know nothing about. I mean, I guess it's part of the magicalness that is Ireland too. (Yes, I know that's not a real word). You can feel comfortable meeting up with a perfect stranger and know that it's a safe bet.

Although the walk was kinda strenuous (I already admitted to being severely out of shape), it was perfect in every way possible. The burning of my lungs actually felt great. The chill in the air was comforting (especially since we've been experiencing insanely unusually warm weather in Santa Monica). I loved walking around the woods and following the path that FT and her husband walk frequently, admiring just how beautiful it was to see the Irish Sea and the patchwork green fields all around us.

The easy conversation between all four of us was just icing on the cake on an already perfect afternoon. And it was my favorite part of the visit. The conversation really did flow freely easily. And when we got back to FT's house, we warmed up by the fire with coffee and tea and more chatting while we watched the sunlight move in a million different directions and make the warmth inside the house even more evident than was already present.

Katie and I both felt like we met lifelong friends and even though I'd miss out on Katie and FT's visit in Dublin the next day (they arranged it at some point during the walk), I knew that our friendship would last well beyond our magical day walking along Tara Hill.

I didn't want to say goodbye after our cup of tea, but we had to get back to Dublin because I have a flight to catch tomorrow. See below for the beautiful photos of our afternoon walk with FT and her husband. And pay special attention to the very last one because this is the samephotodifferentday IG series that I've been inspired by and that I feel so grateful to be a part of!

Thank you FT!


Anonymous,  December 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM  

what was that about a man standing in a hole for this shot??

I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy now. It was just as wonderful for us to meet you. :-))))) thank you for making your way all the way down to the south east xx

Anonymous,  December 2, 2012 at 12:54 PM  

ps you can actually see seafield in the above photo! :-)

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