So much of travel is just a game of "hurry up and wait" and boy was the beginning of our trip an example. Though we made it to Atlanta and through security smoothly, that's where the ease ended. Just as we were preparing to board our first plane, we found out that because it was snowing lightly in Newark, we were going to be delayed over an hour. We had only a 90 minute layover in Newark so we started to get nervous but had hope. All hopes were dashed when - after boarding - the pilot told us that air traffic control had decided to push our wheels up time to even later. I was upset for a while until I realized that there was perhaps the possibility of getting onto a later flight if we could find the right one and I quickly jumped into action. Or, as most flights from Newark were heavily delayed, that ours might be, too. As it happened, we sat on the runway for almost an hour - leaving 2.5 hours late - and our plane (seemingly the only on-time departure) was long gone by the time we got there. Although it was far from a fun landing, I'm still not sure how that little bit of snow slowed everything down as much as it did. We tried the customer service line, but we eventually decided we were too tired to wait behind the 100 people ahead of us, so we got a hotel room off the airport and crashed for the evening as United had automatically rebooked us onto a flight the next evening. The next day, we spent 5 hours at the airport but this time took off right on time, made a pitstop at Heathrow and finally arrived 26 hours later than intended.
But, we'd arrived!
Our very first introduction to the country was landing on a runway fenced in to keep out the cows not 20 feet away. That was a new one for me! We made a beeline for the hotel where Dad and Jake stayed (and Jake slept for the next 6 hours until dinner) and I set off in search of transportation to my shoot an hour away. I'd worried most about the flight delay because I'd scheduled a family shoot for Sunday late morning, thinking that would give me plenty of time to adjust and get my bearings, but having to learn on the fly was just as well. I finally found a bus pass and a bus and set forth. Of course, my first bus was late to my stop so I missed the second bus and waited a bit for the second. It turned out, after checking the timetables, that bus wasn't due for another 4 hours so I hightailed it to the train station, crossing my fingers that I was going in the correct direction as I was already going to be 20 minutes late. Luckily, I was. A brisk 15 minute walk later all uphill, I finally met the family!
What I love most about photography is the opportunity it presents me to get to know so many people I otherwise would never meet; Aoife and her family were certainly no exception. Sister to John - whose Portland elopement I just happened to be in town for and was lucky enough to photograph through my email connection with Steve of A Beautiful Ceremony - Aoife and I were introduced through Jen (John's now-wife.) Oh the power of the internet; none of this would have ever happened if not for that initial email to Steve.
Darcy, having just woken up from a nap, was in no mood for posing, so I contented myself with letting her run wild for our session. After all, kids are their truest selves when they're playing, and that was what we were trying to capture. And the breathtaking and somewhat-untamed backdrop deserved the unbridled mirth of a child and her happy parents for its foreground counterpart.
Aoife and Mark happily asked if they could take me back towards my hotel, or at least to the train station, but the landscape had intrigued me and I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't stay to explore. As I'd heard from neither Dad nor Jake, I assumed they were asleep and thus wouldn't miss me while I photographed the scenery. I set off towards the top of the hill (again), this time in a direction that I thought would lead me up, over and down to the beach. It didn't. But, I finally found my way after reading the map and could not keep my finger off the trigger of both my film and digital cameras.
Perhaps the highlight of these few hours came while attempting to take a long exposure of the shoreline waves without a tripod. I had my boots wedged deeply in the wet sand and was finally steady enough squatted down to shoot when a dog off his leash bounded up to me. With no introduction, he licked my hand and proceeded to exuberantly shake himself off, soaking me and knocking me out of my perch and into the shallow water. When you're a dog lover visiting Ireland, it's hard to be mad at this situation, especially when the sweetheart lets you pet him afterwards. After a good laugh, I went back to shooting, giddy with excitement from the clear air, the vibrant colors and the quiet beach with only the crash of the waves as its soundtrack.
I knew the sun set at 4pm, but I wasn't quite prepared for how odd that would feel. I walked through the quiet neighborhoods to the train station, noting that all house lights were on and seemingly everyone had finished their outdoor tasks already and were hunkering down the spend the evening indoors. No wonder they drink so much beer here! As I took the very long trip back to the hotel (I almost went the wrong was and thus missed my train the first time it came through) I started to get really drowsy, even though it wasn't even dinner time. This, perhaps, was not helped by my lack of sleep since we'd left the hotel the morning before.
We went straight to dinner when I got back to the hotel as we were all tired and hungry. We picked one of the numerous pubs and settled in for traditional meals. I chose the Beef Ireland and a stout and was thoroughly pleased with my choices. Warm, flavorful and complex broth; fall-apart-tender meat; and scratch-made bread to soak it all up - this meal was exactly what a tired traveler needed. It was so good it put me to sleep at the table. Dad wanted to walk around since they'd spend most of the day sitting, so we explored the labyrinth of lighted streets lit for the holidays until our exhaustion took over. All told, I walked 10 miles that day and climbed 70 floors, so I slept right through all the drunk people slamming their hotel doors at all hours. Even with all the headache of getting there, our first day in Ireland was certainly worth it!