Last fall, I spent a week in Ireland on assignment for Virtuoso Life, photographing the country’s dramatic landscapes, discovering its homegrown (and exceptionally talented) artisan community, and hotel-hopping from one incredible property to the next (yes, there were castles). Dream Escape, a Virtuoso on-site tour connection in the UK, created my custom itinerary – it’d be great for any type of photographer, be it an amateur or a pro. With travels temporarily on hold, I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite trips, which makes me excited for the ones I’ll take in the future. Here, a few photos from my time on the Emerald Isle – because we all deserve a little virtual vacation right now – plus some tips to hold onto for your own down-the-road adventures.
Chasing waterfalls along the Dingle Peninsula’s narrow and curvy roads. Bonus: Stop in the quaint town of Dingle for the best fish and chips ever at The Fish Box.
Be sure to stop at the seaside ceramics studio of Irish artist Louis Mulcahy in West Dingle, where skilled artisans like thrower John Sheehy (above) create pieces perfect for packing up and taking home. I chose two small dishes to add to my kitchen ceramics collection.
Golden hour takes on new meaning at Ballyfin in County Laois, where you (seriously) might run into Kim and Kanye or George and Amal in the Gold Drawing Room (above). Stroll through the estate’s apple orchards before dinner in the State Dining Room.
You can’t leave Ireland without experiencing a falconry demonstration. At Adare Manor, a sprawling estate in County Limerick, I learned from one of the best.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living like royalty, Ashford Castle is definitely for you. Settle in with teatime Champagne and a triple-tiered stand of treats in the hotel’s Connaught Room. Afterward, say hi to the manor’s resident Irish Wolfhounds, Cronan and Garvan.
Dublin done right: A stay at the ideally located Westbury, where there’s an entire menu dedicated to the gin and tonic. Next door at Westbury Mall, you’ll find some of the best modern Irish goods at Stable of Ireland, Paula Rowan, Madigan Cashmere, and Stonechat Jewelry.