Ireland: A Photo Diary

Back in April, my husband and I spent a week in Northern Ireland and Ireland (two separate countries - I had no idea!). I loved the small towns and roads. It really is as beautiful as they say! And I think the sheep outnumber the people 1,000 to 1. My heritage is Irish (is it obvious from the red hair?) and it was so neat to visit a country that I'm from!

(we brought our drone and I made a video! Fair warning - I'm a photographer, not a videographer or video editor!)

After spending too long on an airplane, we reached our bed and breakfast, put our luggage in our room, and drove to the Mussenden Temple. 

Weirdly, we immediately adjusted to the time change. We think it's because we stayed up the whole first day and went to sleep at 10pm. We woke up the next morning around 8am feeling great! We stayed adjusted the whole trip.

Our second day, we drove up to Giant's Causeway. We hiked down and then back up along the cliffs. This area is full of thousands and thousands of basalt columns. Definitely one of the most interesting rock formations I've ever seen!

Everywhere you go, you are surrounded by sheep farms! And that yellow bush in the above photos is apparently a weed, according to our guide! It takes over the farmers' land and it's hard to get rid of (but oh so pretty! The entire country is covered in it).

Next we drove over to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I think we learned that it was used by fishermen so that they could get across to a small island to fish. Ireland is so windy, so walking across this was terrifying!

We then drove to the Dark Hedges, which if you watch Game of Thrones, is the King's Road!

The next day we went to Castle Ward, which is also a Game of Thrones filming location! It was used as the set of Winterfell in the first season. We did some archery, canoed, and had a medieval feast for dinner, but unfortunately I did not bring my camera this day because I knew we'd be pretty active. Also never saw Jon Snow, so.... :/

The next day was maybe one of my favorite days ever. We went on a food tour with a local Irish woman. She took us to a cheese shop, then she brought us to her home where her neighbor taught us how to prepare traditional Irish breads! She gave us tea in her china teacups and let us explore her home. 

We continued our tour by visiting an oyster farmer who, no joke, had prepared an oyster feast in his shed! The shed is pictured below. He then showed us how he grows and harvests the oysters. It doesn't get more real than this!

The next day, we took a train to Dublin and visited the Guinness Storehouse for a couple hours, then hopped back on the train and arrived at our final destination and accomodations for the next three nights, the Dromoland Castle! :O We spent the rest of the evening exploring the grounds.

I actually ended up getting really sick the next morning, and we had plans to visit the Cliffs of Moher. I tried to push through but we ended up having to cancel. So I spent most of the day in bed, with no appetite. :(

Luckily, I felt much better the following day, and we were able to snag another tour! We first boarded a small boat that sailed along the bottom of the cliffs, then we took a bus to the top and walked the path. There is literally nothing to stop you from falling over the edge, so it was just a liiiiiittle bit scary in some spots!

We went on a very warm day, and it was not windy AT ALL! It felt amazing, but also brought out a ton of bugs! You can see them flying across a lot of these images.

Overall thoughts on Ireland - 

There's so much to explore and so much history on such a small island. It's beautiful and green and the accent never gets old. There are just literal castle ruins in people's backyards. It's insane! Our tour guide said that many farmers will take the ruins to build their fences!

Definitely stay in a bed and breakfast! Our bed and breakfast was owned by a married couple who woke up early every morning to make breakfast for their guests. The wife made a rhubarb coconut yogurt because she had some rhubarb from her garden that needed to be used! I mean seriously, how cool! Really my only complaint about the country is that I'm not a fan of UK/Irish food. It's a lot of potatoes (duh) and just pretty plain and bland. I'm sure the food options would be better in the big cities like Dublin!

Have you been to Ireland? Anything I missed? I'd love to hear what you did differently!

Lavender Field in Provence Elopement

As we passed all the freshly mown lavender fields, we started to lose hope. But then, a wrong turn down a narrow gravel path led us to this lone field, still full, with the sleepy town of Grignan as a backdrop. I still can't believe this day was real.

Film stocks used: Portra 400 and 800

Workshop: Study Abroad Workshops

Flowers: Holly Carlisle

Dress: Cathleen Jia


Zach and Sara - Waterfall Session at Rock Island


Last week we rented a cabin in Standing Stone State park to watch the solar eclipse. My husband had known about the eclipse well in advance, so we reserved this cabin nearly a year ago and invited several friends. Two of those friends were Zach, who is from Florida and works with Brad but they had never actually met, and his fiancée Sara. Sara and I have been friends on Instagram for a while, and she is the cutest fashion blogger in Tampa. 

(as it turned out, we actually had to watch the eclipse from a Bojangles parking lot, but that's a different story)

We loved spending last Sunday showing Zach and Sara around Rock Island State Park, and that waterfall is never less impressive than the first time I saw it. This whole session took maaaaaaybe 10 minutes? I'm pretty efficient. :)

Put together while listening to "Montage" from the Swiss Army Man movie. Guys....I am the biggest advocate for this dang movie. It is the funniest thing I've seen in years. GO WATCH IT (and it's Daniel Radcliffe, do you really need anything else?). Do yourself a favor, look up the lyrics to this song and thank me later.

Jacob + Sarah - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Wedding - Richmond, Virginia

I don't know how to write about this day without it falling short, but I think Krista summed it up best in her maid of honor speech - from Genesis chapter one, "It is good". The love these two have for each other is GOOD. The love their friends and family surround them with is GOOD. And the love they extend to others is GOOD, and I know this because they welcomed me as a friend.

Just a couple weeks before the wedding, Sarah's mother emailed me, invited me to to the rehearsal dinner ("not as the photographer, but as our guest"), offered to give me a guest pass into the gardens the day before so that I could scout locations, and sent me a list of hikes in the area because she follows me on Instagram and knows I love the outdoors. ~insert crying emoji here~

The rest of Sarah and Jacob's family and friends were just as welcoming - I can't say it enough. This day was perfect and it was because of the people.

And of course, a bride and groom who are announced into their reception to "Space Jam" while just doesn't get any better.

View their engagement photos here.

Vendors that made this day possible:

Venue: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Florist: Coleman Brothers

Suits: Jos A Bank

Dress: Tiffany's Bridal

Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie

Rings: Rhapsody in Gold and Carpe Diem

Videography: Anne Claire Patterson

DJ: Manny Green Entertainment

Caterer: Meriwether Godsey

Cake: Pao Cakes

Donuts: Country Style Donuts

Second Shooter: Brooke Silverman

Rachel Fugate is a wedding photographer for adventurous and joyful couples. Based out of Knoxville, TN and available for hire throughout the United States.