One of my favorite things to do when traveling is taking pictures. People who travel with me know that not only am I going to have my huge Nikon DSLR around my neck, but will probably have my GoPro and iPhone in my bag as well.
This has been the biggest travel year of my whole life. Sure, I may not have been to as many different countries as some other years, but instead of just traveling around, spending a few days in each country, I’ve actually fulfilled my dream of moving to Europe. Well, Ireland (which is technically Europe but the Irish don’t consider it as such). I’ve been able to travel to some amazing places in Ireland, and used it as an easy base to travel other parts of Europe.
So, I decide to steal this idea from Lauren on Location, because it’s a great way to look back on this amazing year through one of my favorite keepsakes – pictures. I’m using her great idea to look back on 15 of my favorite pictures from the year.
Now, these won’t all be stunning landscape shots or epic GoPro pictures. But, they’re the ones that mean the most to me, and the ones that highlight the best parts of 2015 for me. So without further adieu, here are my 15 favorite photos of 2015.
1. Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana | February 2015
What better way to have my last hoorah before leaving Louisiana than with Mardi Gras in New Orleans? My Mardi Gras was filled with friends, fun, wigs, dancing, parade-watching, and just general debauchery. Oh, and a whole lot of love for Louisiana. Talk about ending with a bang! To me, this photo really shows the true spirit of Mardi Gras.
2. Easter with family in Lafayette, Louisiana | April 2015
This photo probably doesn’t mean a lot to any of you, but it means a helluva lot to me. This was the last holiday I would get to spend with my family for the year, since I would be in Ireland for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember that being the day that it really hit me that I was really going. I love this family photo because it really captures the essence of my crazy, perfect family.
3. Boarding our flight to Ireland in Lafayette, Louisiana | April 2015
Again, this picture won’t mean anything to most people – just two girls smiling. But I know that this is post-airport tearfest and pre-boarding my international flight to go live in a foreign country. So although it may seem like this is merely a picture of two girls smiling, there were SO many emotions going through both of our heads here – anxiousness, excitement, nervousness, sadness, happiness.
4. Hiking the Wicklow Way in Co. Wicklow, Ireland | June 2015
I still consider this one of the best single days of my time here in Ireland. I mean, how often can you go on an 6-hour, 10-mile hike through the mountains of Ireland?
Coming from somewhere that has absolutely no mountains, seeing Irish landscape in all of it’s glory is always super special to me. On this day, the views were unbelievable. It was a great way to clear my mind, enjoy a beautiful day, and get some fresh hair. This photo was taken at the end of the hike, by a lake in Glendalough. Success! Check out more on that here.
5. Body and Soul Music Festival in Co. Westmeath, Ireland | June 2015
Body and Soul was like…the weirdest weekend of my life. I spent 3 days wandering around the forests near a castle in the middle of nowhere in Ireland, listening to bands I didn’t know and making new friends.
Since this festival is relatively new and small, it was pretty much all Irish people there. I met so many people and it was the first time that I really felt like “I actually live here.” There I was, wandering around the forest in Ireland with a bunch of Irish hippies. The dream, man.
Read more about it here!
6. Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare, Ireland | July 2015
The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s #1 tourist attraction, and well worth the title. I don’t think words can express how cool it is being at the top of the cliffs, walking along the edge, looking out to the natural beauty around you, hearing the water hit the rocks below, seeing the flocks of birds flying in and out of the caves, hanging your feet over the edge, looking at the sea way down below….it just can’t be beat.
For me, this was the perfect way to spend the 4th of July…and of course I’ve been back since! I just can’t stay away!
Read more about my Cliffs of Moher/Burren tour here!
7. Cliff Walking in Howth, Ireland | July 2015
This was another memorable day – mostly because it was completely unexpected. When I heard of the Howth Cliff Walks, only a 30-minute train from Dublin’s city centre, I thought it would just be a casual walk with some great views.
Although it wasn’t a super strenuous “hike,” it was a lot more tiring and long than I was expecting (probably because we chose to walk the longest of the 3 routes). Oh, and the views were a lot more extraordinary than I was expecting!
Read the full review of the walk here!
8. River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland | August 2015
I just love this picture of Dublin. Of my city. I was walking home from work and the sky was being all moody and dramatic, as it usually is here, and as I was crossing the bridge I turned to look at the river and the city just looked so beautiful. It made me stop and realize how lucky I am to have this as my view during my commute to and from work. I think it captures the mood and essence of Dublin perfectly.
9. Electric Picnic Music Festival in Co. Laois, Ireland | September 2015
Being that I love music festivals SO much, I was in pure bliss during my weekend at Ireland’s biggest music festival, Electric Picnic. Seeing so many artists I love over the span of 3 days – like Sam Smith, Florence + The Machine, CHVRCHES, etc – with thousands of Irish people around me…what could be better than that? The best part was…by this point I had a group of Irish friends that I got to experience the festival with.
Sure, sleeping in a freezing tent 3 nights in a row wasn’t ideal, but it was 3 days filled with friends and great music, which you can read more about here!
10. Nyhavn Harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark | September 2015
I had always wanted to visit Copenhagen, and I really don’t even know why. I didn’t know what there even was to do there, but I had seen a few photos and it looked like a cool city, so that was all the reason I needed.
Well, I finially got to visit this past September and was blown away. I didn’t really have any expectations but I had an absolutely amazing time. There was so much to do there, and the city itself is beautiful! One of my favorite photo-ops was at this famous Nyvahn Harbor. You should visit Copenhagen like, ASAP. And you should check out my 2-day itinerary as reference when you do!
11. Scene from the Ring of Kerry in Co. Kerry, Ireland | September 2015
To me, this picture just oozes Ireland. I mean, the donkey, the man making Brigid’s cross, the beautiful landscape, all the green, the freakin’ leprechaun!!! I snapped this photo right as we got on the road (driving on the other side, of course) to drive the Ring of Kerry. This route had some fantastic views and photo-ops along the way, and what made it even better was that I got to show my visiting family how beautiful Ireland was.
12. Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia | October 2015
This is my favorite photo from my road trip through Croatia with my mom. Like Copenhagen, this was another place I got to cross of my bucket list in 2015. Since we went off-peak season, it felt as though we had the whole country to ourselves. Starting in Zadar and driving all the way down the coast to Dubrovnik, with a stop in Split, we were able to cover lots of ground and see a lot of country in a week. However, I’m definitely planning to go back!
13. Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork, Ireland | October 2015
This was seriously the first year of my life where I’ve lived in a city that actually has a fall season. Sad, right? I was walking around starting at the beautiful autumn leaves and trees because I had really only seen such intense autumn colors on TV.
During Fall I took a solo trip down to Cork to explore the city during Jazz Festival weekend. One of my favorite spots in the city was St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Not only was the church spectacular, but the surround yard was covered in huge fall leaves.
14. Christmas Day in London, England | December 2015
Being away from home for the holidays was hard, but what made it infinitely better was the fact that I got to spend Christmas in my favorite city – London. I had only been over the summer, so this was my first time being there for winter, and it was magical.
My favorite day of the trip was Christmas Day. Although the city basically shuts down for the day – no public transportation, no businesses open – we were able to walk around the cities monuments like Parliament and Buckingham Palace, with virtually no crowds. It was pretty quiet even in the most touristy of areas, so it made the city quiet and beautiful.
15. New Year’s Eve in Dublin, Ireland | December 2015
This picture obviously isn’t anything epic. It’s just a #basic selfie. But to me, it’s so much. It’s the only picture I got of my house party for New Year’s Eve. Yep, that’s right, a house party. In my apartment. In Temple Bar. In Dublin. With both new Irish friends and old ones visiting from home. I knew enough people in Dublin on New Year’s Eve to have a whopping 11 people over for a house party. Hey to me, that’s pretty great.
There was no better way to ring in the new year in my new city!