Things To Do In Bundoran, Ireland

I was there to surf, and would be in town for a few days.

I was looking for other things to do in Bundoran, Ireland while I was there. It’s a pretty chill seaside town, and is well known for it’s surfing.

Things to do in Bundoran, Ireland

Take a walk at Tullan Strand

I surfed at Tullan Strand, but also took a day just to walk the beach and zen out… It’s incredibly gorgeous and peaceful.

Walk the beaches… Experience nature.

Surf, swim, play in the water, Bundoran Ireland

Surf, swim, play in the water!

Whether you are traveling by yourself or with family and friends, make time to just go play! The beaches are lovely!

Tullan Strand is great for surfing or a stroll on the beach. Things To Do In Bundoran, Ireland

Take a stroll on the beach.

Go horseback riding. It’s so amazing to see these beautiful creatures galloping along the Atlantic. Check out the local Equestrian Center, and take a ride.

Things to do in Bundoran, Ireland Go horseback riding

Go horseback riding at Tullan Stand

Check out the coastline along the main part of town. You’ll find lots of families out for a day at the beach. If you’re traveling with kids, it’s a great place to hang out, plus the Bundoran Adventure Park is really close by.

Walk the beach right at the edge of town in Bundoran, Ireland

Where the ocean meets the town

Be adventurous! Jump off a cliff! I was hanging out, chatting with a family from Northern Ireland. They were in Bundoran for a weekend holiday. A couple of adventure seekers started climbing up onto the cliff near where we were sitting. We all watched and wondered if they would actually jump… They did! I don’t think I could do it, but it was fun to watch!

Cliff jumpers, adventure seekers  Things To Do In Bundoran, Ireland

Just jump!

Go fishing! Growing up, I did a lot of fresh water fishing with my family in Wisconsin, so when I came across a couple guys fishing on the shore of the Atlantic I was curious. What were they trying to catch, and what were they using for bait?

Shoreline fishing in Bundoran, Ireland

Fishing the Bundoran Coastline

The bait looked like an earthworm and a centipede mated! They were using ragworms. I’ve never even heard of them.

Using ragworms to catch fish in Bundoran, Ireland

Creepy crawler… aka Ragworm

Apparently you can catch quite a variety of fish… Pollock, Cod, Wrasse, Conger, and Fluke can be caught from the shore.

Catching fish in Bundoran, Ireland from the shore

He caught one!

Check out the pubs… Yes, they exist! It’s not just surfing and nature.

I stopped by Brennan’s Criterion Bar late afternoon for a pint. The pub is run by 2 sisters, Nan & Patricia. They look like they could be my Grandma! The sisters were born above the pub, opened by their grandparents, and are the 3rd generation running Brennan’s. The ladies are there 7 days a week serving up drinks, and taking care of business. There are no tv’s or music in the pub, so you have to talk to each other! Stop by if you are ever in Bundoran. The Brennan Sisters are a hoot!

Brennan's Criterion Bar, Nan & Patricia

Nan & Patricia Brennan

One of my other favorites in Bundoran was Maddens Bridge Bar. It’s great for checking out Trad Sessions, grabbing some really good food, or a pint.

The Chasing Bull is a good place to check out live music later at night. It’s a bigger pub, and draws a pretty lively crowd.

Surfing In Bundoran, Ireland

More than a few people thought I had lost my mind when I told them I was going surfing in Bundoran, Ireland. Since I live in California, they didn’t understand why I just wouldn’t surf at home… I live in Santa Barbara, and I’m only 10 minutes from Rincon.

Well first off, my attempts at surfing haven’t been too successful… That, however wasn’t the reason. I had better luck at Stand Up Paddling. It was going well, so I focused on that.

Just as I was getting confident, signs about a shark attack started appearing on the local beaches. A sea lion in the marina had become a meal for a shark!

Stay out of water shark attack

California Beach…. Would you go in?

Uggghhh… That immediately put a halt on all my water activities. All I could think about was sharks! I was more than freaked out.

It’s one thing to be out there paddling among dolphins, quite another to be with something that thinks you are food. Since I had halted SUP, surfing wasn’t really topping my list of things to do in California!

Apparently, sharks like warmer water, and we’ve had a lot of it in California lately.

Ireland’s water is much colder, so when I came across a groupon special offered by Bundoran Surf Co. I jumped on it! This was my chance to surf!

Surfing in Bundoran, Ireland

Bundoran Surf Company

The Groupon Deal included lodging, breakfast, a surfboard, and a wetsuit. What a deal! I chose to upgrade to a private room for a small additional fee. It was quite large, and well worth it. I could have brought friends!

I arrived early evening in Bundoran. The Éireann Bus had taken the scenic route from Dublin, and I actually crossed into Northern Ireland. For awhile I thought I had taken the wrong bus!

After settling in, I headed to Maddens Bridge Bar for food. The fish and chips were really good, and the chocolate fudge cake is to die for! Get the chocolate cake if you go!

I grabbed a pint, and listened to a Trad Session before heading back to the surf lodge. I decided to call it an early night, so I could actually get up to surf in the morning. The 8 hour time difference was tough, and I had been starting my days in Ireland around 2:00 in the afternoon.

Morning was rough to say the least. I ate breakfast, drank lots of coffee, and then suited up in a damp wetsuit. Are they supposed to start out wet? Brrrrr…. I was cold, tired, and kind of grouchy. I am not a morning person.

After my cranky morning whining, I boarded the The Bundoran Surf Co. van heading to Tullan Strand, and with any luck would soon be surfing the Atlantic.

Getting reading to surf in Bundoran, Ireland

Heading down to the beach

Once on the beach, we stretched, and learned how to paddle while still on land. I was ready for the water! Next we did some swimming, and were taught how to get out of a riptide… Things you generally don’t think about, but really need to know. Thanks guys!

Time to grab the boards… The waves seemed to be coming from several different directions. It was a little overwhelming at first, but in a good way. It’s that moment when you realize the sheer power of the ocean, and how small you are in it. There is no time for fear, only respect for the environment that you are in.

Tullan Strand surfing

Tullan Strand

I got on the board, up onto my knees, and promptly fell off. On my way down, I swallowed a mouthful of salt water. Holy good God! I was not expecting that. I regrouped, tried again, and kept my mouth shut. This time when I fell in, the water shot straight through my nose! And, I thought standing would be the hard part.

With the help of a really great instructor, and a lot of determination I stood up! Finally… Success! I don’t even know how it happened, but it was truly exhilarating, and I wanted more!
I managed to stand several more times before we headed back to lodge.

Bundoran, Ireland surfing

Paddling, Standing, My Instructor

Riding back in the van, everyone was sharing stories of their own challenges as well as the excitement of the moment they actually surfed! Once back at the lodge, we were treated to some much needed hot cocoa and cookies.

I’m not sure how much surfing I will do in the future, since it most likely would be in California… That is yet to be determined. I am, however, extremely grateful that I was able to surf in Bundoran, Ireland. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime.

Thank you Bundoran Surf Co. for an amazing experience. You guys are awesome! I just might have to come back!

surfing in Bundoran, Ireland

Thanks Bundoran Surf Co.!










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Trusting Randomness

I’ve decided to just give into trusting randomness on this trip. It seems to have served me well so far and I like the spontaneity of it. By going with the flow of random encounters and circumstances, I’ve made new friends, been introduced to restaurants, cafes and pubs that have quickly become my favorites, plus have had a whole lot of fun along the way!

french cafe in Galway Ireland

Java’s is such a cozy cafe.

It all started when my host recommended a restaurant called the High Cafe in the Latin Quarter of Galway, Ireland. His directions were somewhat obscure… Turn left out of the apartment, make a right past the pizza place, cross over the first street, go up a couple blocks, turn left, and it’s up on the second floor. I wondered if any of the streets had names. It couldn’t be that hard to find, right? It was only a few blocks from where I was staying.

After circling several blocks many times, I stood standing on a corner looking very lost, and was contemplating whether or not to make another round. I was approached by a man that started speaking Spanish. I thought he was lost, and trying to ask for help. I apologized, and told him I didn’t understand Spanish.

He suddenly started speaking English. He was actually a local Irishman that thought I was from Spain. He said I looked Spanish. Hmmm… Since I’ve never been to Spain, I wasn’t sure if it was true or it was a pick up line. Either way, it was funny and we struck up a conversation on the corner.

He was heading to a French cafe for coffee and invited me to join him. I figured why not? Part of the adventure of traveling solo is meeting new people, and this seemed like a good start.

trusting randomness in Java's cafe

Love hanging out here!

We went to Java’s Creperie and Cafe Francais. It’s such an adorable, cozy cafe, and was a perfect place to hang out. I was happy to see the many different options of crepes to choose from, since I was now starving! Despite the many choices, my sweet tooth won out… It’s hard to turn down Nutella crepes for dinner!

Java’s has quickly became one of my favorites in Galway, Ireland and I’ve already started bringing friends here. So, in honor of trusting randomness, I have decided my mantra for the trip should be “Why Not”?

Trusting Randomness, coffee at java's

Coffee at Java’s!


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My First airbnb

In search of my first airbnb… Several friends have used airbnb, and recommended trying it as I traveled around Ireland. Since I would be traveling solo, it also seemed like a great way to get to know some local people.

I began searching for my first airbnb a few weeks prior to my trip. I was able to save places I liked on a wish list, so I could sort through and compare my options. I read through reviews written by previous guests, and tried to narrow it down.

As I was about to make my decision, a new property popped up. It was in the perfect location in the Latin Quarter of Galway, and right where I wanted to be. The only problem was that the host was brand new to airbnb, which meant there weren’t any reviews. I went back and forth trying to decide if I should take a risk.

I finally decided to take a leap of faith. I booked six days, and hoped he wasn’t a serial killer. I kept telling myself that things like that only happen in the movies…

I was so excited when I arrived at my first airbnb. The location was absolutely perfect, and my host was waiting outside to meet me. My first impression was that he apperared normal, and that put me at ease.

my Galway, Ireland airbnb

My first airbnb in Galway, Ireland

He gave me the tour of his very lovely two story apartment, showed me my room, and then we chatted. We had a good laugh as we discussed our nervousness. This was, after all, the first airbnb experience for both of us. I was his first guest, and I hadn’t even considered he might be a bit worried as to who was going to show up at his door.

I think we both were relieved!

charming airbnb

This place oozes charm!


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Ireland… I’m Back!

Back in Ireland… As I step off the plane and into the Dublin Airport, I realize I am grinning like a lunatic that has escaped the asylum. I don’t care what anyone thinks. My soul is happy. I am back in Ireland, and adventure awaits me.

back in Ireland and happy

So happy to be back in Ireland!

I continue to walk through the airport in search of the bus which will bring me to Galway. I have been on 3 planes, and traveling now for 19 hours. I still have a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to my destination, but I don’t feel tired at all. In fact, I’m invigorated. I wonder when the jet lag will kick in… The thought is fleeting.

I find my bus to Galway, making sure it is the Express Route. I took the 5 1/2 hour scenic route the last time. I don’t want a repeat.

I take my seat, and begin to dream my way through the Irish countryside. The ride flies by… Hmmm, perhaps I dozed.

I arrive in Galway, and make my way through Eyre Square. I’m amazed at how quickly I find my way around. Before I know it, I find myself in the Latin Quarter.

Galway, Ireland Buskers

Buskers in Galway, Ireland

Everything is so familiar. I feel like I’m finally home.

Ready, Set, Go! Ireland Bound!

Ireland Bound

Ready, Set, Go…. It should have been that easy right?

I knew I was going to return to Ireland before I had even returned from my last trip there. I was in love with the country, and knew I’d be back for more… Love is like that after all. Who doesn’t want more of a good thing?

It was just a matter of figuring out the details… Where would I stay? How would I finance this adventure? How long would I be able to do this for?

This trip was also somewhat of a test for myself. Could I give up having an actual home, and start my dream of living the gypsy life? I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, and was more than ready to go. I had originally planned on throwing some stuff in storage, selling what I no longer needed, and just using airbnb as living quarters along the way. This, however, freaked out some of my friends and family that weren’t quite as enthusiastic about my plan as I was.

They thought I might regret giving up my apartment in Santa Barbara… It is a pretty sweet place, and in the perfect location! I think their actual motives were that, they would have to find a new place to stay while vacationing in Santa Barbara… Kidding aside, I considered other options.

I decided to sublet my place for the next two months. I thought that was the safer option, just in the event my gypsy life didn’t work out. So, I found a 70 year old man that wanted to test the waters of retiring in Santa Barbara, and sublet it to him. He seemed like a safe bet. I put my personal belongings in storage, and crossed my fingers that all was going to work out.

I secured my first six days lodging in Galway, Ireland through airbnb, and booked a few days at a surf lodge in Bundoran, Ireland. I decided to wing the rest of the trip, seeing where the Universe would take me.

I had worked enough the previous months, and was good to go with the financing… Or so I thought!

My car decided it needed some TLC days before I was ready to leave… My travel budget took a $600 hit. Ouch!

Next, there was the call from my bank. My business checking account had been hit with fraudulent charges. Someone in China had managed to make a physical copy of my credit card, and go on a shopping spree. The first charge was for $800 worth of awnings! Really? Wow! Eight more charges followed… How was this not caught immediately?

It was time to sell something that would save the budget. I had a piece of gold jewelry sitting stored in a closet that would do the job… Trip saved!

I’ve been flying standby for the past year, so I’ve got used to getting bumped to the next flight. I’ve spent more time in some airports than I ever thought I would, which can be mentally challenging after awhile. I’ve never flown standby internationally, and was hoping for the best.

The night before I was ready to leave, I had to scramble to rearrange my flights. My original plan was hopeless. All the flights out of Los Angeles were so oversold that I would never make it onto any of them. My only hope was to fly out of Santa Barbara, which added one more flight into the mix. I had no choice… My sub-letter was moving in the next day, and I would be homeless. What’s one more flight anyway?

Shockingly, I made all three of my standby flights! Put this one down the record books! I took it as a good sign that the rest of the trip would go well!

Flying standby to Dublin, Ireland

Flying to Ireland!





My First Solo Journey

Solo Journey To Ireland

After a lot of thought, I have decided to travel on my first ever Solo Journey! I’m so excited!

I will be traveling for 5 weeks around Ireland with my backpack, camera in hand, photographing and blogging my adventures along the way. I’m also checking into opportunities to volunteer on Organic Farms through WWOOF.

If you would like to be a sponsor, or can spread the word through social media, check out the details here.

Solo Journey to Galway Ireland

Did I dream it or did it dream me?

Roller Derby Girls Brawlin’ Bettie’s

Roller Derby Girls… Brawlin’ Bettie’s

My friends had tickets and invited me to go… It was to see the Brawlin’ Bettie’s.

Who are the Brawlin’ Bettie’s?

Well apparently Santa Barbara has a women’s Roller Derby team! Wow! Who knew… Well, I guess a lot of people… Just not me! They actually have a following!

I needed to take a break from staring at the computer… aka working/editing photos and decided to join them. They had seen the “Bettie’s” before and promised a good time filled with action, plus there would be beer and a food truck with BBQ… Kind of hard to say no to that!

Roller Derby Brawlin' Betties's

The MC & Roller Derby Fashion


Roller Derby Girls

Brawlin’ Betties

The only Roller Derby I had ever seen was on tv… And, that was when I was a little kid. I was impressed! All I can say is these girls kick ass!

I’m ready to join the team! I’ve even picked my name… Jammin’ Julie! Oh yeah!

I won’t tell anyone that I haven’t even roller bladed for a really long time & hmmm… Not really sure if I’ve ever even had roller skates attached to my feet!

But, in my head… I’m a Brawlin’ Bettie!






East Beach – Photo Of The Day

Photo of The Day – Shoes of Jason

I actually made it to East Beach during the afternoon to shoot.  I’ve been shooting a lot at night, so it was a nice change.  I wanted to  play around with low angles, and happened to come across a pair of Vans sitting in the sand.  As I was shooting, the owner of the shoes soon appeared, looking a bit perplexed!  I guess I must have looked a bit strange taking pictures of his shoes!  I told him about the project I’m working on, and he shared some of recent travel adventures!  And, they were quite the adventures!  Maybe I need to shoot more shoes!

Photo Of The Day, Santa Barbara California, Great travel adventures, Vacation

“Shoes of Jason”