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2021: A Year in Photos

by Roberto
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What to say about 2021? It’s 2020 stuck on repeat. The similarities are uncanny. It was a year of local travel again, with a few international trips sneaked in. For Beata and I here at CarpeDiemEire we managed to get to three countries. Which is the exact amount as in 2020! We spent 5 months in lockdown. You guessed it- about the same as 2020! Anyway, it’s around this time of year that we reflect on the good things from the year, and in time honoured tradition we will do so by looking at my favourite travel photos of the year. This is 2021 a year in photos.

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2021 A year in Photos

January to May- Lockdown

2021 was like ’20 in reverse. While 2020 began with plenty of travel before falling off the fails, 2021 started with tumbleweeds. I was back to long stints staying in the hotel where I work, something which had caused me no end of stress in 2020. Except this time I got used to it. The creaks of the old building were familiar now. Amazingly when life reopened I even missed it. So maybe there is something to be said for having a building all to yourself for 70+ hours in one go. It afforded me a lot of time to write, something which I found hard to come by at the latter end of the year.

As in 2020, we walked a lot. Quite often I hit 20km a day. Then I undid all that hard work by gorging on some of Dublin’s finest unhealthiest sandwiches and burgers. Nothing quite like a bit of food therapy in these strange strange years. If there was one benefit of lockdown it’s getting to know our home towns a little better, and Dublin with us was no exception. Here’s a few of my faves from Dublin this year.

Spring Colours – 2021 A Year in Photos

2021 a year in photos

Wildlife Photography – 2021 A Year in Photos

2021 also to the benefit of my wildlife photography immensely, which got plenty of practice. Dublin is quite the habitat with quite a few animal species calling it home as we do. A first ever boat trip around the island of Ireland’s Eye allowed me to finally add Puffins to my photo collection.

2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos

May – September – 2021 A Year in Photos

As the country reopened in time for summer (and for a change Ireland really treated us to a summer) our desire to expand our horizons was full to the brim, and we took every opportunity to get out of the city and see as much of Ireland as we could. Day and overnight trips took us to counties Meath, Wicklow, Wexford, Louth, Kildare, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Sligo, Mayo, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, and Roscommon, as well as several trips up to Northern Ireland. I might have missed a few there too. Opportunities arose to work with a number of businesses too, and we did our first FAM trip with a tourist board in Longford.

Clare in June – 2021 A Year in Photos

As well as working with the splendid Ollie’s Tours on his Doolin Food Tour we also go the oppotunity to see more of the magical village of Doolin. It’s the perfect base to see the Cliffs of Moher, or jump on a ferry to the Aran Islands. We did. Hiring bikes is a romantic way to see the many stone walls of the islands, though I’d suggest grabbing one with mudguards as it rains there often. I learned the hard way.

Hiking and more in Wicklow Summer of 2021

As ever Wicklow is a great escape from the confines of city life in Dublin. With these views, little wonder. Flying the majestic Molly the Hawk at the National Bird of Prey Centre was quite the experience too.

2021 a year in photos

Sligo and Mayo July – 2021 A Year in Photos

Fortune shone on us in July as we took to the road in Sligo and Mayo during the best heatwave of the year. The greens look even greener when the weather is favourable. Sligo and Mayo are seriously underrated, with some immense natural beauty. Ben Bulben and the Gleniff Horseshoe are two of Sligo’s best draw cards. Mayo has many more, from the awesome Downpatrick Head, to the incredible views on Achill Island. Road trip heaven.

2021 a year in photos
Ben Bulben
Gleniff Horseshoe
Gleniff Horseshoe
Downpatrick Head
2021 a year in photos
Downpatrick Head
One of the world’s prettiest beaches, Keem Bay

Wexford in August – 2021 A Year in Photos

Wexford is Ireland’s Riviera, getting more sun than anywhere else, and full of long sandy stretches of beach. But it’s full of intrigue too with some really interesting architecture. There’s Hook Head Lighthouse, which is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Further exploring took us to the “Doll House” and the “Shell House”. These Wexfordians are imaginative.

2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos

FAM trip to Longford in August -2021 in photos

A three day FAM trip to Longford let me see more of my home county, than I had done in 42 years prior. Perhaps that’s an indictment of how lazy I was when younger, or praise of the good work by the team at Longford Tourism. After three days of walks, cycling on greenways, boat trips, and visiting several historical attractions, it became clear I had missed out on a lot.

2021 a year in photos

Northern Ireland – 2021 A Year in Photos

Several trips to Northern Ireland constituted our first trips abroad in 2021. Even if it is little more than an hour up the road. Personal highlights were the astounding views at the Flagstaff view point, exploring Slieve Guillon, seeing Titanic at night, and an hour of indoor sky diving at We Are Vertigo.

Flagstaff View Point

A few other personal faves from 2021

Some houses from Trim
Trim’s imposing castle
Sunset on Lough Owel
The most Irish house in Ireland
Clonmacnoise
Best street art of the year in Dundalk

Autumn and a return to International Travel

Having enjoyed the summer immensely in Ireland, as autumn approached so too did one of our favourite times to travel internationally. Travel was now easier than it had be for some time, with vaccine passports opening up great opportuinites within the EU.

The first trip via plane in over 500 days was a solo trip for John, to central Spain, and a long standing ambition to see the castles and towns of Castillo y Leon, and the Spanish capital Madrid. It didn’t disappoint. Each city I visited was better than the previous one.

Avila was surrounded by magnificent stone walls, a real sight at sunset.

Segovia’s Alcazar was what first drew my attention here and setting eyes on it was a highlight of the year.

Toledo was immense in every way. One of the best cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Cuenca was cool, though I didn’t have enough time to really appreciate.

I only had a day in Madrid, and a mostly rainy one at that, so it became a museum day.

All in all a fantastic trip and so much more to come on it here at CarpeDiemEire.

2021 a year in photos
Avila’s walls
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
El Escorial
2021 a year in photos
Segovia Alcazar
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
Aqueduct de Segovia
2021 a year in photos
Views of Toledo from above
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
Don Quixote’s enemies at Consuegra
2021 a year in photos
The Hanging Houses at Cuenca
2021 a year in photos
Sunset over Cuenca
2021 a year in photos
Cuenca is full of imposing architecture
2021 a year in photos
Sunset at Temple de Debod in Madrid

Prague in November – 2021 a year in photos

Thankfully it didn’t take long to board a plane again, and Beata and I met in Prague, after she had some downtime at home in Hungary. Prague is one of those capital cities that lives up to every expectation, great food, a warm welcome, spectacular architecture, and attractions that are great fun. It’s castle is the largest in the world, and for anyone that says they don’t need a beer bath, Prague will prove them wrong. As in Beata’s case.

Some other highlights were the medieval banquet (that takes place in an 800 year old bar), the magnificent Charles Bridge, its’s many towers which I climbed, the dancing house, and all the architecture that has survived wars and centuries. As we travelled in November, Prague was still draped in the beautiful colours of autumn which was the icing on a very rich cake.

2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos
2021 a year in photos

A Quieter End to 2021

2021 ended as it started, with a much slower pace, as restrictions returned and Omicron loomed. Though we did appreciate the many colours of Christmas that illuminated Dublin, and some of its well known attractions.

Of course our hopes are higher for 2022, and we aspire to travel more, travel better and travel longer.

Wishing you all the best in 2022, and I hope a great year of travelling beckons.

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