Before Phil and I got married, we dreamt of summers in N. Ireland. Since we were both planning to be teachers, we knew we’d have the summers off to head over to enjoy quality family time and cooler temps! Working as a wedding photographer fits perfectly into this situation as well as my weddings slow down in the summer heat. When we had kids and the reality of the COST to fly over to N. Ireland set in, I was a little unsure. It got so expensive, and trying to keep it cheap meant routing us through too many layovers, too many hours on the plane, resulting in exhaustion for ME.
Enter—Norwegian Air! They have a direct flight from Austin to London. We flew with them last year, but reaped the benefit of having them around this year because they brought down British Airways’ price. We paid around $800 per flight (as opposed to $1000+ in the past). Most people are surprised when they learn that it is truly affordable to head to Europe. The only caveat is you really need to hang out in London for the night before your flight. We took a little trip to Windsor, and I am so glad we did!
The whole purpose of our trip is always to visit Phil’s family! They all live in a small town, 20 minutes from Belfast, called Larne. Sometimes we tag on a fun trip to another place like when we went to Croatia, but this time we stayed in Ireland. We rent a car and then take about 1-2 hour trips and soak in all the family time. This time around, all of the King cousins were going to “Circus Camp,” put on by two famous clowns who happened to be married. Its purpose was to promote cross-community relationships: half of the group was Protestant and half was Catholic. (If you want a fun view into what Phil’s childhood was like, watch Derry Girls! It touches on the issues a bit but is probably more for fun than education.)
Most of the cousins were at Circus Camp with Chloe! 🙂 I thought this was the absolute best experience for her because it included so many of her cousins and also immersed her into life in Northern Ireland. She said it was weird coming back to the U.S. and hearing American accents. 🙂
While Chloe was off at circus camp, we took Summer on a little beach trip! We started in Bundoran which some refer to as Fundoran and others refer to as Bun-boring—lol! There was not a whole lot to do, but it sure was gorgeous! We stayed at an Airbnb overlooking the ocean and had fun watching surfers, walking to the town center, and enjoying the carnival on the beach.
We headed off to Mullaghmore which I found to be far more interesting and charming. We did a horse and carriage ride with Sophia and her horse Blackie, that took us around the shore and into the rolling hills and Classiebawn Castle. We found it all to be incredibly fun, beautiful, and interesting, and we followed Sophia to the restaurant where she was working later and had amazing seafood at Eala Bhan Restaurant on the beach.
Like I mentioned, the only caveat with flying direct to London is that you need to be back in London for the early morning departure to Austin. Phil, who is beyond obsessed with travel, does anything he can to get us on an adventure, so we picked Windsor to stay at for a few days. I studied abroad in London years ago, so I actually didn’t have the strongest desire to go there. I was completely wrong. Windsor was a gorgeous, charming town, nestled at the foot of the Windsor Castle. We had a ball touring the castle and Summer mentioned that she wanted to marry the guard! Lol! 🙂 The town was really celebrated when Meghan and Harry were married there, and you could still feel the excitement in the air. The town rests on the river Thames, which was absolutely beautiful to visit and float around on. We enjoyed it immensely! We are definitely already planning our summer 2020 trip!