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Well that was the longest blogging break I have taken since I started back in 2009! I would love to say I was totally unplugged, but the reality is that I have been crazy busy with work and spent the past 10 days working from Ireland. In between emails I got in sightseeing and family time though, and while heartsick for my favorite place on earth, I am also feeling energized to enjoy the rest of the summer and to conquer the work and travel ahead.

While in Ireland, we spent a lot of time with local family and family visiting from Boston and Italy, and we also enjoyed some unexpected beautiful weather after their miserably rainy July. I have a few posts on activities in Ireland to come, but as  I slowly reenter everyday life and shake off that heavy heart that always goes with leaving, I thought I would share some favorite photos of the trip. Enjoy!

Galway St. Nicholas Church {Blue skies over St. Nicholas Church in Galway on Saturday Market Day}


Irish roses {One of the hundreds of gorgeous roses in my mother-in-law’s garden}


sunset on Galway Bay {Watching the sun go down on Galway Bay from Rinville}


running in Galway {Windy day on Galway Bay}


cows in Ireland {Mama and baby cows!}

 buskers in Galway  {Incredibly talented buskers on the streets of Galway}


nights out in galway

{Huge smiles and drinks to-go on a night that ended at 3:30 am during Galway Race Week}


Irish coffee

{The perfect Irish coffee at Pat Cohan’s in Cong}

Connemara pony {One of the Connemara ponies I tried to kiss}


{Gorgeous Connemara beaches}


house in Ireland

{The gorgeous house near Carraroe, where the whole family spent a couple of days}

Gaeltacht Ireland

{The front lawn of the house, and it’s sea views}

currach county galway

{Currachs in Connemara}

 Ireland sunset {Sunset in Connemara}

house in Connemara

{The view from the upstairs of the house we stayed in}


{Beautiful Connemara}

view from Errisbeag

{Views from Errisbeag}


Connemara horses in Ireland

{Horses on the road}

Abbeyglen {Abbeyglen Castle}


We spent two beautiful days at an amazing house in Bealadangan in Connemara and had time to play outside, go hiking, have a picnic, and cook big family dinners. Walks to the pier, wine glasses in hand, running around in the front yard, and enjoying the stunning views were top priority. We also went for a hike of Errisbeag, not making it to the top as we had the last time, due to high winds and our little hikers, but having lots of fun on a lovely Connemara day. Instead we went to the Abbeyglen Castle for cocktails and Cokes, not a bad trade off.

More to come on boating, zip lining, and eating in Ireland!

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Tags: Connemara, countryside, County Galway, Galway, hiking, hotel in Ireland, Ireland, Irish countryside, Travel, travel blog posts, travel photos

I know. I know. I should probably change Travel, Wine, and Dine to A Blog about Ireland and Sonoma, because I am fully obsessed with both places and could blog about them day in and day out. One of the reasons I decided to do away with paid blog ads was because I just wanted to blog about what I wanted, with the hopes that someone would find it interesting. Spilling my heart and camera and iPhone into a blog post and being able to share favorite places makes my day, so I hope you don’t mind a couple more Ireland posts. There’s a lot of healthy cooking on its way. . .

Today for Travel Tuesday, I thought a drive through the West of Ireland countryside would be a nice little getaway for the brain. It’s going to be 20 degrees for the high in Boston today, and I am certainly thinking of travel.  Sit back and enjoy some views from Connemara, Westport, and Barna, all places I recommend visiting when you base your Ireland trip in County Galway.

Keane's Pub

{Keane’s Bar, at Maam Bridge}


Keane's Pub Maam Bridge

The booth at the front of Keane’s Bar, located in Maam in Connemara, is the perfect spot for gazing out over the hills with a hot whiskey after a long hike in the Irish countryside. red berries


{Driving through Connemara in the West of Ireland}

Connemara {Foggy Connemara, where the sky meets the mountains}

Barna {Barna beach day}


O'Grady's Barna Pier {O’Grady’s Barna}

Thatched Cottage {Thatched Cottage in Barna}

    Connemara Beaches

{Beaches in Connemara in the West of Ireland}

Matt Molloy's Pub Westport

{Matt Molloy’s Pub, Westport County Mayo}



{A sunny day in Barna}

O'Grady's Barna

{Lunch views from O’Grady’s in Barna}

seafood chowder Ireland

{Seafood chowder at O’Grady’s in Barna}

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Tags: Barna, Connemara, Galway, Ireland, Nature, outdoors, scenery, Travel, travel blog, Travel Tuesday, views

I sometimes think that if it wasn’t for this blog, I wouldn’t remember half of the things we do in a year. I love going back and being able to remember exactly what we did, ate, and saw during a certain time of year. It’s been the most consistent journal I have had in my adult life, and hopefully making it public has been entertaining and informative to others! As I sat down to start writing this post, I thought to myself that we didn’t do too much in 2014, but going back made me realize what a full year it was from the very start and just how much good happened.

2014 was an interesting year. We spent a large chunk of it legally chasing after a shady plumber who took lots and lots of money and did a hack job on our house. We hoped to leave that in 2014, but the legal system had other ideas. You can really get away with anything if you’re slimy enough, we’ve learned. If you’re looking for a plumber in the Boston area, feel free to contact me so you know who NOT to choose.

That situation has been tough, but this year has been about so much more. We saw our families a ton, with two visits to Ireland and multiple guests from Ireland, as well as a nice long visit from New Jersey family and lots of short trips there. We got to help out in our first Sonoma grape harvest, had many boat dates, and genuinely grew closer to many great people in our lives. It was a full, rich year, and we have so many memories to be thankful for.

Below are some of my Best of 2014 moments in food and travel. Please share one of yours in the comments!


Aniar –  My belated birthday dinner in Galway was definitely the best meal of the year. Service, ambiance, and local Irish ingredients make it easy to see why this restaurant has a Michelin star. How many ways can I tell you to get yourself to Galway, then go to Aniar?

Aniar Galway


Red Fish Grill, Coral Gables, Florida – We kicked off 2014 with a trip to Miami. With the winter we had, it turned out we needed every second of warm sunshine we soaked up while there. We stayed at the Sonesta in Coconut Grove (highly recommended, full disclosure, I work for Sonesta Hotels.)

Red Fish Grill


Owenmore Restaurant at Ballynahinch Castle – You know how I feel about the Irish countryside, if you’ve been reading for any amount of time. There is an indescribable beauty and sense of calm; it changes me in the best ways ever. We got to spend a day in the country, followed by a delicious dinner and overnight at Ballynahinch Castle, a place my husband’s family has been visiting for years. They knew so many people it felt like home, and I will always remember relaxing by the fire into the wee hours of St. Patrick’s Day morning.

Ballynahinch Castle

Ballynahinch Castle Owenmore Restaurant


Wine Country Weekend Lunch at Davis Family Vineyards – A year is not complete without a visit to Sonoma County. Through blogging about wine and travel, I have met some great people and had amazing opportunities, and this year was no different. We kicked off this wine country trip with a glorious wine lunch at Davis Family Vineyards. Sonoma Wine Country weekend has so many great events (including our starlit night of dancing at Rodney Strong), and I would definitely recommend checking one or two out if you happen to be there during the events.

Davis Family wine


Sonoma sunset


The Girl and the Fig and all the Sonoma County wine tasting – Okay, pretty much every moment of our Sonoma trip was my favorite. This post summed up some of the food and wine experiences we had in Napa and Sonoma. Our Flipkey wine country cottage is really worth checking out too.

Girl and the Fig, Sonoma

Travel to Long Island Wine Country – From tasting by the ocean in the beautiful Kontokosta Winery tasting room to chilling out at Noah’s in Greenport, having copious quantities of oysters and bubbly at the Blue Canoe, and feeling at home at Bedell Cellarsour getaway to the North Fork was one of my favorite weekends of 2014.  The North Fork is so easy to get to from Boston, and we are definitely planning a 2015 visit.

Kontokosta Winery, North Fork

As we look back at 2014, we are planning our 2015 travel, including the biggest trip of our lives. . . a 12 day safari in Tanzania! I have been to Africa once before (Tunisia during college), but this is going to be very different. Sleeping in a tent amongst lions and elephants and other animals? SO exciting and so very far out of my nerve-laden comfort zone! It will definitely be an adventure!


Your turn – what was your favorite food/travel moment of 2014? Do you have any 2015 travel plans or dreams?

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Tags: best of, California, cocktails, Connemara, Dining out, Food, Ireland, North Fork, Sonoma, Travel, wine, wine country

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