This blog post (ok, it will be multiple post) is one that is dear to our hearts. This October we (along with our best friend Ben) took one of the best adventures we have had yet; we went to Northern Ireland. We absolutely love traveling, seeing the world, and experiencing difference cultures. One of our couples from 2010, Laura and Ricky Graham, currently live in Belfast and extended an invitation to us to come visit. Now when you invite us to go to another country we will most likely take you up on it, as the Graham’s found out 🙂
One of the best things about this trip was the chance to see the country from a natives eyes. When we travel we try and immerse ourselves in the culture and not just do the touristy things. Since Laura and Ricky live in Belfast they were able to help us view the country in a way that would have never been possible if we went on our own. As we were on this trip we had to pinch ourselves a couple of times to see if it was even real. We explored Belfast, Portrush, Bangor, Newcastle, the Mourne Mountains, and the Antrim Coast. As much as we loved seeing the country of Northern Ireland some of our best memories were spent in the Graham’s home where Laura and I talked over coffee and the boys all played soccer video games or talked about music, the night we spent in Bangor with Ricky’s family sitting around the fire hearing stories of the Troubles, and the weekend we spent in their cabin in the Mournes playing monopoly by the wood burning stove. The trip became so much more than we thought it would be. It showed us that we have friends all over the world and they are our friends because of the job that we love so much. If we hadn’t photographed the Graham’s wedding we would have never gotten to experience the beauty of being welcomed into an Irish family.
As we journeyed throughout the countryside we couldn’t help but be amazed at the beauty before us. We spent a lot of time on the trains and we personally thought this was the best way to see the country. The country side would roll by as we just sat there and watched the beauty of the Emerald Island. From the moment we landed in Belfast we truly were left speechless by the landscapes that we saw.
We went with the goal to experience the Irish way of life and see the country. We took plenty of cameras with us but there were times were we put them down and just soaked up what we saw and made mental memories. There were times that a camera just couldn’t capture what we were experiencing. Like the day we went to Portrush, stood on the beach, and looked out to the Irish Sea as far as our eye could see. You can’t capture the smell of the salt water or the feeling of the wind against your face. You’ve just got to close your eyes, soak it in, and store it in your memory bank.
But no fears we still took plenty of images. I mean come on, you can’t take the photographer out of us. 🙂 So we want to share some of our favorite places and memories from Northern Ireland with you. Since we were gone for 10 days we are going to break the trip up into a couple of post. First up is our first days in Belfast and Portrush.
Arrival in Amsterdam. The three of us were pretty worn out from the travel and couldn’t wait to get to Ireland. This image cracks me up, it really shows the personality of all three of us 🙂
Day one in Belfast was spent getting acclimated to the town and learning our bearings. The above image on the left is of Philip and Ricky. Laura and Ricky had told us that we would feel tall in Ireland. They weren’t joking! Philip is decently tall in the states but in Ireland he was so easy to find since he was one of the tallest people there! 🙂 And I’m only 5′ 6″ and felt model tall there. Pretty sure that is a reason to move 🙂
Image on the right is City Hall.
Queen’s College, where Laura teaches.
I adore these two images of P. P mostly shoot with a film camera (Olypmus OM-10, the camera he learned on) on this trip and I love seeing him with it. I love that I caught the rain falling on the right, it was a perfect reflection on the trip.
View of Belfast from the Victoria Center. Belfast is in the valley and pretty much every where you look from the city you can see the hills, HEAVEN!
Our first picture on the blog with both us us sporting our short hair 🙂
Sheep!!!! Yep they really are every where. One of my lifetime dreams is to have a sheep farm when we retire. I was so excited to see the sheep every where and tried to take one home with us 🙂
Train riding. Small note about our outfits for the trip. We knew to pack rain gear but we didn’t know how much we would be using it. We had just one day of sunshine while we were there and spent most of the trip soaking wet. Northface came to our rescue with their jackets though at one point even they couldn’t handle the amount of rain we would encounter 🙂 More on that later. But for this trip I packed tons of cute clothes… sadly they spent most of their time under two coats and scarves.
One of the little countryside towns on our journey north to Portrush.
The coastal town of Portrush.
The main reason we went up to Portrush was for Philip and Ben to play golf. One of Philip’s life long dreams was to play golf in Ireland and we made sure that it happened. Ben just happens to be Philip’s golf buddy here in Memphis so it worked out perfectly that he was able to join us on the journey. I’m pretty sure P would not want me playing golf with him on a Links course since all I know how to do is drive 🙂
If you will look closely at the image above you can see the classy way in which P carried his golf cleats to the club 🙂
My hair spent most of the trip like this. The wind was ridiculous most days and I decided not fight it. I was so thankful that I decided to cut it all off right before the trip. I can’t image trying to control long hair with that wind.
I’ll close out this first part of or trip with this image of Portrush taken on my walk from Dunluce Castle back to town where the boys were playing golf. You can see the course in the middle of the image and see that they really were playing right on the coast.
Tomorrow we will be posting more from Portrush and Dunlace Castle. Those images really and truly deserve their own post and we can’t wait to share them!
Savannah and Philip
(Images shot with Olympus Pen EL-1 and Nikon D700 24-70 and 70-200)