Back in July, I went on the Ireland Writer Tours, a week long tour slash writing conference held in (you guessed it) Ireland! This was a really special trip, one that I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to attend. I could probably go on for pages about the many cows I beheld, the soups that I ate, and the moments that left both my heart and my phone photo app 100% full. But for the sake of blog post brevity, I’ll keep it short(er) and share my top five highlights from the trip:
1) WRITING COMMUNITY
Hands down the best part of the Ireland Writer Tours was the people that I met through it. I loved learning from our amazing instructors, literary agent Thao Le and YA fantasy author Julie C. Dao, and doing it with a group of kickass fellow writers from all different walks of life. Honestly, what a stellar group. So thankful for all the wisdom and laughter that we shared together!
2) CLIFFS OF MOHER
The Cliffs of Moher was my number one anticipated tour stop and it definitely did not disappoint. This was the place where Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed! I could almost see Harry and Dumbledore in the shadows of the fog… -squints- or wait is that just another cow? Anyway, SURREAL! If you’re ever in Ireland, I would highly recommend checking this place out.
A series of captions for the photos above from our day trip to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands:
Ferry ride to the island.
Dún Aonghasa, a prehistoric hill fort at the edge of a 100-meter-high cliff. As you can see, there is ZERO semblance of a fence or barrier along that cliff edge. You better believe I crab walked my way to the edge (and by edge, I mean a nice safe five feet away from it) so I could could get a quick photo before running back to safety. As terrifying as this was for my fear of heights, I would say it actually turned out to be my favourite tour spot, even more than the Cliffs of Moher. I loved the unexpected wonder of it.
One of many popular Aran sweater shops.
The yummiest scone with the BEST raspberry jam.
The Wormhole, a naturally made swimming pool. This was very cool! I’m pretty sure we all wanted to grab a floatie and a drink with a little umbrella in it and jump in that water.
4) A DAY IN DUBLIN
After the tour ended, I spent an extra day in Dublin city. Some things I saw:
The famous Trinity College Library. Not pictured: the hundreds of tourists standing next to me, taking this exact same picture. However, even with all the people, it was still very awe inspiring to be surrounded by so many historic books.
A mural while wandering the streets of Dublin.
A pub! There were lots of these, but this one looked particularly nice at golden hour.
The view from Ha’penny Bridge.
This random Korean restaurant??? Susan and I ended up eating dinner here and it was actually not bad. I’m not sure if it’s because it was actually not bad or because I was going through such major Korean food withdrawals that anything would do, but either way, I’m glad we stumbled upon it!
5) ICE CREAM & GELATO ROUND UP
You bet ice cream & gelato gets a whole section to itself. Let’s discuss these flavours, shall we?
Here we have my favourite ice cream of the trip from Murphy’s, a cone with fresh strawberry and honeycomb caramel. Honeycomb was a big thing in Ireland which was a real delight.
My favourite flavour, mint chocolate chip! This was from an award winning ice cream shop but in my opinion, it was just ok. It still made me happy to eat it though.
Gelato at Gino’s with my new friend, Rachel Greenlaw. She got mint chocolate chip (because she knows what’s up) and I got Malteser. It was yummy, but you know what would have made it yummier? If there were actual crunchy pieces of Malteser inside. YES.
I don’t remember where this was and I didn’t even get a whole scoop because I was too full, but this was Bailey’s gelato! I wish I had been hungry enough to get a cup of it. (And yes, I was that person who walked in, asked for a sample, and walked out. Hey, I’m on vacation!).
There was a giant grocery store across from our inn and they had special ice creams that we don’t have in Canada. For example, this TOBLERONE ICE CREAM BAR! What! It tasted exactly like I thought it would. I’m sad we don’t have them here.
And finally, this mint chip ice cream bar because, as I said before, I love mint chip.
That’s it for the highlights! Thanks, Ireland, for the plethora of castles and monasteries and fairy forests, and for all the inspiration you gave me. And now, to write!!