During the summer of 2015, I visited Ireland for the first time with my family. Ireland has always been somewhere that has interested me and I was super excited when I was given the chance to see it with my own eyes. 

I woke up extremely early as we had a two and a half hour drive to Holyhead where we boarded the ferry. After returning from Spain only a couple of days before going to Ireland, where the weather was ridiculously hot, it felt like heaven to feel an icy cold breeze against my skin. I'd really missed being able to wear multiple layers and throw on my oversized sweater and converse.

The journey on the ferry was SUPER windy! It was impossible to take a decent photo without my hair blowing accross my face.

For the first few days of the trip, my family and I stayed in a little place called 'Carrick On Shannon.' We stayed in a beautiful guest house which made a change from staying in a hotel. Despite the house being full of guests, it felt quiet and super cosy, which immediately made me feel at home. The first thing you'll notice whenever you go to Ireland or at least it was something that stood out for me, was just how friendly everyone is. I love meeting new people and I could easily find myself talking about my previous travelling adventures with people over breakfast. 

After settling in, I took a walk through the town and I completely fell in love with the place. Being a huge bookworm, I was so happy to see lots of little second-hand bookshops. Of course, I ended up spending most of my money on buying new books, but I certainly don't regret it!

However, one of the main reasons for visiting Ireland was to see and meet some of my family for the very first time. Although my mum's side of the family is quite small, my dad has huge family, meaning that I'm one of those people who can't count the number of first and second cousin's on one hand. It was absolutely incredible meeting some of the Irish family for the first time. We ended up going out to dinner together almost every night and we'd stay out until early hours of the morning after going to every single pub within the area. I'm not the kind of girl who loves going out to pubs and bars, but I really, really enjoyed myself, and I ended up completely falling in love with Ireland and everything it has to offer.

My sister and I would often leave dinner early and take a long walk along the beautiful river, admiring the ancient houses and shops along the way. The dock was full of boats, and we'd always see families having their own little BBQ's.

After spending a few days in 'Carrick on Shannon,' my family and I left the rest of the family and travelled up to Dublin for a few days, which I was super excited for. Dublin has always been one of those places that I've heard loads about, but I've never actually been there and experienced it for myself. After a two hour drive, we arrived in the 'Ashling' hotel, which is the BEST hotel I have ever stayed in. The rooms were gorgeous and the lounging/bar/dining area was also absolutely amazing. I ordered a vanilla latte straight away and until this day, it is the best coffee I have ever had (which is a pretty big statement for me to make considering I am a huge coffee fan.) 

That night, we met up for dinner with more family members I had never met before. They were so lovely and I felt so lucky to have connections to such a breathtakingly beautiful place. Irish accents are my absolute favourite, and so I was in complete awe the whole time I was there. 

The following day, we went into Dublin and spent the whole day getting to know the beautiful city. It instantly reminded me of London - which made it feel even more like home. My sister and I decided to go shopping down 'Henry Street' and we were both in our element. There were so many amazing places to shop and it was safe to say that we were both completely exhausted by the end of the day. 

On our final night, my family and I went out for a meal which was really lovely because I finally felt like I could catch up with them after having spent the last month away in Spain. Much to my delight, the weather continued to be fairly miserable throughout most of the trip. I'd love to go back to Ireland soon and find out more about it's history and culture. I know there are so many incredible things I am yet to discover and I'm excited to learn more about it. 

Naturally, I felt very emotional when we had to say our goodbye and finally board the ferry to go home. But for me, I know that home is where your heart is - and I am SO lucky that I have a place like Ireland to call home. 

Lots of Love,

 Meg X

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