My wife and I will be visiting the northwest of Ireland next month, north of Galway around to Derry to be exact. Has anyone any suggestions regarding photogenic locations not to be missed?
I dont know of anywhere dave, but I am very very jealous. Perhaps I could stow away in your boot without you noticing .....
(I was going to put "stow away in your trunk" to avoid anglo-american language problems, but then all I could think about was long flexible noses)
Achille Island, County Mayo for beautiful desolation and cliffs to the sea. Far many more sheep than people and wondrous light. Abandoned villages on the mountainside at Slievemore... that sort of thing. Easy drive north of Westport Quay and Newport. The Quay is another great place - long shots of Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain rising above the sea. Touristy but pretty.
South from there go through the mountains. the winding roads and sudden vistas are amazing and a very different view from the shore. Mayo in general avoids most of the tour bus crowd that haunts Galway in the summer.
Further south, just above south of the Cliffs of Moar, on a peninsula north of the river Shannon, is a small irish vacation spot, Kilkee (meaning the majority of people vacationing there seem to be from other parts of Ireland rather than American, Japanese, French or German tourists.) It is a great place for cliff walks and astounding sunsets. There are natural swimming pools on a rock shelf that sticks out hundreds of yards into the bay. These get scoured out with every high tide and then filled with people who parade down the main street in bathrobes to go swimming at low tide. Pleasant, uncrowded, slightly seedy and very, very beautiful.
You can't go wrong. Just get the hell away from the crowds and you'll find a wonderful place in many parts of Ireland.
Have a great trip.
Originally Posted by Whiteymorange
I like your signature line - if it wasn't already yours, I'd add it to mine.
Tried to write this a couple of Hours ago but I'm afraid I got side-tracked by Liverpool/Milan!
Anyway I've done broadly what you're going to do in each of the last two years; and in early June we're re-covering the Donegal to Giants Causeway section ourselves. So its safe to assume that we like it, and I've taken other photographers there who have also subsequently returned.
To my mind the area you're going to is defined by its wonderful coastline, rather than the countryside behind it (ok but unspectacular, and if you drive across from Dublin or Belfast its downright boring). There are very few old cottages/barns, and the towns are pleasant rather than photogenic though some are colourful in the way Ireland seems fairly recently to have adopted. But the coast is great.
Particular favourite areas are :-
The area west of Galway around Cashel and Roundstone. Lovely fairly low coastline with little harbours, yellow seaweed, the twelve Bens in the background,and in the right light a beautiful opalescent sea. I'd include the peninsulas on which Glinsk and Ballyconneely stand. Just follow the little roads close to the sea. There's at least two or three days worth in this area.
Around Westport there's two prime zones; the south side of Clew Bay especially around Murisk, and Achill Island on the north side of the same bay. There's also good photography across the mud round Westport harbour at low tide/sunset or sunrise.
Near Sligo I'd again pick two locations. The first is Streedagh, on the coast north near Grange, not far from the better-known Mullaghmore area which is also attractive. Also the coast between Easkey and Beltra, accessible on tiny roads, has potential. Also, the peninsula north -west where Raghly stands is good.
In southern Donegal, don't ignore Rossknowlagh. Its holiday land, complete with caravans and a holiday village (though the Sand-House hotel is very good) but if your idea of heaven is clouds reflecting in ripply wet sand you'll like it there.
I don't know northern Donegal so well-which is why we're going back there, but I have photographed nicely round Horn Head near Dunfanaghy; around Ballymacstocker Bay ( near Rathmullan) and on the beaches north of Falcarragh.
The one thing you're going to need of course is some luck with the weather, though we've always had a decent mix. Have a great trip.
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Dave, hello from Texas. I cannot add too much to the very sound advice you've already been given. The coast of Donegal is worth exploring unfourtunately I cannot remember names but take the time to visit out of the way coves etc. The Burren offers good but very challenging photography. When in Westport take the time ti visit Mallory'y pub to sample some excellent live Irish music and of course the excellent Guiness, please have a pint for me.
Have a good holiday with many successful photographs
Thanks for the input chaps, it’s very helpful.
Leon, worry not, for if I find any rocks worth hugging, I promise not to squeeze them dry.
Whitney, we got as far north as Achille Island last time we were there, and were taken with the place, so a return is a distinct possibility, as a starting point for further north. Hopefully this time we may catch a dry spell.
David, what’s Liverpool/Milan – a new type of printing paper? You describe Ireland extremely well. I’m not into mud, wet sand is ok, but the wife baulks at mud.
Les, now what are you doing swanning around Texas, shouldn’t you be home chopping firewood ready for winter? I hope those colonial APUG’ers are looking after you, and appreciating your worth? As you say the Burren is indeed a challenge, and that’s just walking on it. I’ve only found one bad pub in Ireland so far, but I shall keep looking, there must be another, somewhere.
Is this the place for a story? Well here goes anyway, it’s true.
T’was a scorching hot day somewhere in the middle of Ireland – honest – and we were in need of a drink, and food, it being near lunchtime. Espying a pub we called in and stood by the bar awaiting service. A voice said “Can I help you?” This was a little unnerving as we were alone in the bar. The voice came again, “Can I help you?” At the third sounding I worked out that the voice was coming from somewhere behind the bar. So I leant over the counter, and peering into the gloom, I saw a small girl, maybe 6 years old, looking up at me. I enquired if they had any food available. Not that day she said, normally there would be, but Ma, and Pa were away at a funeral, and Ma did the food, so no food, sorry. Would we like a drink? Whilst she balanced on a beer crate as a prelude to jumping up to hang on the pump handle, I enquired if she wasn’t a bit nervous at being left alone in charge of a pub? I’m not alone she said, pointing over her shoulder, “I’ve me brother”. Behind her; in the shadows, stood a three year old boy!
Photogenic locations might include your naturally tempting vista but I would encourage you not to overlook the smaller scale. In my estimation though, the finer landscapes take some getting to. Few roads lead much into the mountains and those that do are best attempted in 4x4s. If you are determined enough be prepared to wander some way by foot and be aware of the hazards of the bog.
For more easy to reach landscapes there is obviously the road side passes through Connemara. There I think of the Twelve Pins, Killary Harbour, Leenaun and the Erriff Falls. Slightly north of there, pull on to the side of the road at the southern end of Doo Lough with Mweelrea to the west and the Sheeffry Hills to the east. Here is the site of Ron Rosenstock's Three Trees. From here follow the road into Louisburgh and then east to Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay. I think Clew Bay is best viewed from a vantage point, a tele lens and a well chosen viewing point in order to compact those islands into one frame. Try north of Westport Bay above the mud cliffs at a place called Roscahill on the way out to Kilmeena (OSI Discovery Sheet 31 L 935884) with views out to Collan More, a small harbour and an abandoned castle.
From Newport drive north to Furnace and Feeagh Loughs. Here you will have views towards the higher ground of the Nephin Beg range. You might drive until the road takes you to a youth hostel where you can pick up the Bangor Trail or Western Way (OSI Discovery Sheet 31 L 975055). A fair bit of forestry / timber works goes on here so you might have to be careful where to point your camera.
If you want an easy climb to a (windy) view try the road to Croaghmoyle (430m with aerial mast on top - hence the road) with views west to Lough Beltra and the Nephin Begs and north to Nephin itself and Glen Nephin.
There are then the lake massifs of Lough Conn and Lough Cullin. Pontoon's the place to stop and the Pontoon Hotel will provide you with fine scoff.
Think too of the North Atlantic coast. Most of the coast ends in abrupt cliffs but an angle can be gained at Belderg and best of all Downpatrick Head with the off shore sea stack of Dun Briste.
The smaller things I was thinking of were the grottos, shrines and holy wells. Plus a friary or two and the round towers. The wells are marked on maps but most lack structure. Not so the well at Rosserk. A covered well dating to the 17th century. Rosserk has a friary too and a place to park your car. You can jump the gate and potter about on the banks of the River Moy. In fact 10 minutes away there is Moyne Friary too. They are both within easy distance of Kilalla, itself a half hours drive from Downpatrick Head. They stand on the west bank of the River Moy and you will find yourself alone with the swifts to photograph cloisters and carvings.
Well that will have to do for now. If I don't get moving I'll be late for the pub. Have a great time.
That's a guide book you've written Phil, thanks a lot.
You've already had good advice, and I'd suggest you make Westport your base, (The Asgard, down by the quay, maybe) ... hire a boat and pilot and get to see a few of the small islands (365 in total). Be prepared for RAINBOWS, as you may see some stunners there. And if the weather's good, hike your tripod up the first part of Croagh Patrick.