Photo Essay: A Still Life of Ireland in 7 Pictures

Photo Essay: A Still Life of Ireland in 7 Pictures

This is the first photo I took of the landscape when I arrived to study abroad in Ireland. I think it embodies the essence of Ireland. The colors here are absolutely gorgeous, and there is a very particular feeling that radiates off of small Irish towns that I feel like I captured in this image.

Simple Moments of Joy

host sisters in ireland

This is one of my first outings with my host family, and one of my favorites. The five of us piled into the car, and drove along the coastal road, stopping at multiple stunning sites. At this particular beach, my host sisters got out of the car, put on their wellies, and ran into the waves. I got some really good photos of them that day, but I love how this one expresses the absolute childish joy in something so simple.

International Friends in Ireland

friends in ireland

These are some of the other exchange students I’ve met while in Ireland. I think my favorite thing about this photo is the pure diversity in it. The photo depicts a German photo nerd, a Polish goof ball, and a Bulgarian quiet guy, all on a hike in the Irish mountains.  I find it intriguing that such a diverse group of people all wanted to come to Ireland.

Losing Count of All the Castles

castle in ireland

This is Blarney House, located on the grounds of Blarney Castle and Gardens. Castles and houses like these are casually scattered all across Ireland. That’s something you just don’t see in the United States. I’ve lost count of how many castles I’ve seen, and I’m sure that I’ll see more before the end of my journey. It’s just another thing about Ireland that I love.

Celebrating New Holiday Traditions

One thing I know I will never forget, is my first Christmas away from home. It’s not like Christmas in Ireland is completely different to Christmas in America, but I really enjoyed seeing the traditions of a different family, and I’m very happy that I got to partake in this. I loved watching my host sisters tear open their presents on Christmas morning.

Memorable Hikes with My Host Family

host family hiking in ireland

Irish winters are incredibly mild, especially compared to the Michigan blizzards that I’m used to. One of the things I think I’m going to miss the most, is bundling up on the weekends, and going for a chilly walk with coffee in hand. This photo of my host parents is one of my all time favorites; and, though they both scoffed when I showed it to them, there was no way I was going to delete it. It’s a memory of the five of us walking around the Botanical Gardens despite the muddy shoes, frozen fingers, and a bit of a wipe out.

Creating My Own Souvenirs

making waterford crystal in ireland

Last weekend I had the privilege of making Waterford Crystal. Five other exchange students and I received a demonstration of how to make the acclaimed Waterford Crystal, and then we each got to make two glass ornaments. This picture is a close up of when one of the employees was showing us how to use the engraver. We each got to pick our own design to carve onto our ornaments, either with this machine, or with an engraving pen.

When I was little, my mom made a glass blown flower, and ever since I have wanted to do something similar. I am so glad I finally got that chance, and that my creation is 100% Irish. It’s a great memory I can take home with me, and much better than any other souvenir.

About the photographer:

Sydney Wiswell is a Greenheart Travel high school student in Ireland and young photographer who focuses on candid portraits. Known for her ginormous camera bag that she lugs around everywhere, you will often find her wandering around taking photos of strangers, events, and new things. Photo website:

Do you picture yourself in a place like Ireland?

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