Stephanie was chosen to win a trip for 2 to Ireland with the entry of her 500+ word essay. Her essay received 1817 votes and is as follows:
“I’m a huge foodie and new travel blogger, who loves to do photography for fun. Going to Ireland has been on my bucket list for some time now, but the opportunity has yet to arise due to financial constraints. If given the chance to visit Ireland I would love to see all the main tourist highlights, but I would also like to try to dig a bit deeper into the culture and expand my exploration beyond just the tourists hotspots. I love that this trip would give me the opportunity to see Irish castles, as I adore old architecture (which is a passion of mine that I studied in University) and would cherish the chance to see buildings such as The Rock Of Cashel, the grand Kylemore Abbey Castle, the majestic Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, or the medieval stronghold Blarney Castle as they all take my breath away. So if I won this trip it would be a dream come true to see the spectacular buildings and photograph them. Growing up in the Ottawa Valley, the capital of Canada, there is a strong Irish heritage which apparently has influenced the local accent of English, it would be so nice to go first hand and experience the culture that I’ve seen bits of growing up. When I’m not exploring the country side of Glendalough or the assorted castles, I’d love to try all the local dishes and brews in town. I’ve heard so many good things about The Vintage Kitchen, The Chophouse, The Long Hall, and Mulligan’s in Dublin that I want to try them all. If the opportunity arises I’d jump at the chance to be taught by a local on how to make dishes like Boxty or Irish Stew, or visit where they brew Jameson or Smithwicks Irish Ale. This knowledge would great to bring back home with me to cool more authentic Irish dishes I learned through my travels for friends and family, and I’m sure expanding my whiskey knowledge or how to pour the perfect pint could be useful knowledge too. Finally, if time allows, I’d truly love to experience the natural beauty of Ireland as the landscape is so different than the flat urban city I’ve lived in my entire life. Thus, I’d love to take in the rolling hills and coastlines, and I’ve heard hiking to breathtaking locations such as the Waterfall of The Gods or Giant’s Causeway are not to be missed because of their lush beauty. If chosen for the contest, I’d also love to highlight my experience on my blog by posting my experiences and photographs so that others can get inspired to visit the beauty of Ireland too. I thank you so much for the opportunity to win this trip as it is one I can’t afford to do and thus would be so grateful to be given the chance. I hope to get good news this St. Patrick’s Day to find out I won this contest, it certainly would make for the most memorable St. Patrick’s Day ever! Thank you.