Hiking | Lifestyle | Travel

Scotland and Ireland

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My very first trip out of the country was to Scotland and Ireland! It was also my first time ever owning a passport! This post goes all the way back to September 2008!

While that’s eleven very long years ago, it’s too important (and awesome) not to write about it.

My sister, Shana, attended graduate school here, so when my mom and I came to visit her, we were shown around by a local!

The Highlands, Scotland

The Scotland Highlands are completely breathtaking. It’s one of those things you have to see for yourself.

The Highlands, Scotland

We stayed at this adorable bed & breakfast!

When we rented our car, the company only had manual vehicles. My mom was the only one that knew how to drive one.

There’s a catch: she hadn’t driven a stick-shift in 20-something years.

Let’s just say, between the one-way roads in the Highlands, and the car dying and jolting, it was an interesting experience. On top of that, the window wouldn’t roll up. It rains a lot if you can’t tell, so we had to tape the window.

It made for a memorable and amusing story, though!

Everything you see in The Highlands looks straight out of a painting. It’s amazing!

Highland cows

And, of course, The Highlands are known for their cows. I found out about the cows before we left, and I was determined to find one. I only saw ONE the entire trip!

I spotted The Highland Cow, or “Hairy Cow” on the side of the road while we were driving. As I got closer and closer for a photo, my mom was yelling at me, clearly afraid I was going to get trampled to death. Makes sense, actually. It was also pouring rain.

….I have no regrets.

Highland Cow, in The Highland, Scotland,  also known as The Hairy Cow
Aberfeldy Lodge Guest House in The Highlands, Scotland

Everywhere we stayed at was adorable! Very personalized service, like homemade breakfast every morning and lots of amazing tea to choose from.

Urquhart Castle – Inverness

Discover 1,000 years of drama, experience a glimpse of medieval life, and enjoy stunning views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the greatest castle in the Highlands. 

loch ness exhibit

Located in Drumnadrochit, Scotland, the exhibition was opened by explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. It takes visitors through seven themed areas, exploring Loch Ness from the beginning.

And, it’s highly entertaining! Get more info here:

the palace at Holyrood place

This palace is the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh and the home of Scottish royal history. Open throughout the year, The Palace at Holyrood Place stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

ghost tour

Ghost tour scotland

We did an awesome walking ghost tour in Edinburgh, through Mercat Tours!

It was really neat to see the underground tunnels, hear all the creepy stories, and say we did it!

Girl and her mom in Scotland
That’s my beautiful mother!

Edinburgh castle

Of course, while being in Scotland, I had to do Guinness.

Girls drinking Guinness in Scotland pub
I also ate haggis….
Definition of Haggis. A Scottish dish consisting of a sheep's or calf's offal mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal's stomach

It’s as gross as it sounds.

St Giles’ cathedral

First and foremost, St Giles’ Cathedral is a working church, but also welcomes visitors to experience the history of the building.

Today the church plays an important role in the cultural life of the city and nation, playing host to a wide variety of concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and civic ceremonies.

Belfast, Ireland

Belfast, Ireland graffiti art

Belfast is one of those beautiful places where you can literally just walk everywhere and take in the sights. Everything is so interesting, and of course, beautiful! I personally loved all the rain that we experienced, too.

botanic gardens

Botanical Gardens in Belfast, Ireland

The white building you see is the Palm House, built at the turn of the 1840s, and one of the first curvilinear glasshouses ever built in the world.

Literally everywhere you go is so lush and beautiful!

If you think Scotland and Ireland are beautiful during the day, you should see it at night!

I cannot wait to go back and experience more! Have you been to Scotland or Ireland? What was your favorite part?


21 Responses

  1. Your post brought back many happy memories! I loved the time I spent there! Scotland and Ireland are countries everyone should visit! So green and beautiful and so much history! Spending time with family was “icing on the cake!”
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Wow, your pictures are incredible! Scotland has always been near the top of my list due to the fact that I come from a Scottish family and our ‘family castle’ from the original clan apparently has a whole museum set up outlining our family history. I will go some day!

    1. That’s awesome! My maiden name is also from Ireland! There were a ton of pubs with our last name, which was super neat to see. Thanks for reading!

  3. I have never been to Scotland or Ireland. Your post makes me want to book a flight right away! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Fun trip!

  4. Wow it looks so amazing. I have been to England but never Scotland or Ireland but so would love to go. It looks beautiful!

  5. Hi there, I havent been to either but I look forward to one of these days. Your pictures are beautiful and it sounds like the trip was quite an adventure. I never learned how to drive s stick so I guess I would have had to find another way to get around.

    1. Thank you! Me either! She was a terrifying driver but I wouldn’t have done any better ?

  6. Wow, your pictures are incredible! Scotland has always been near the top of my bucket list as I come from a Scottish family and heard there is a museum built in the old ‘family castle’ that I would love to see some day.

  7. What an absolutely stunning country! Thank you for sharing your experience there. I liked the duct taped window, and you really got a great close up of the hairy cow! You did a really nice job capturing the essence and beauty of Scotland and Ireland through the photo lens! It looks like you had a very nice trip!

    1. Yes you should visit!!! I’ve lived in big cities too, I’m more of a small town outdoorsy person now lol

  8. I LOVE your writing / blog style!!! I’ve never been to Scotland or Ireland…it’s definitely on my bucket list. The architecture and landscape looks stunning.