North-West & Giant’s Causeway, Ireland Blog – Part One – SHORT VERSION

THIS BLOG IS THE SHORT VERSION, if you would like to read the long version, please CLICK HERE

This blog is the first of two that I shall be writing about my week in NI/Ireland and it will cover the first two days of my week. This blog is to be used as a reference to the locations that my clients will experience should they decide to join me on my five-day North-West and Giant’s Causeway Workshop in September 2017.

 

 

During the first week of May this year, I visited Ireland with the intention of spending seven days touring around both Northern Ireland and Ireland visiting a couple of dozen locations with my camera recceing for two five-day workshops that I wish to run over there this September and next spring. I had a fantastic time and I cannot wait to return. CLICK HERE for more information on my FIVE-DAY NORTH-WEST & GIANT’S CAUSEWAY WORKSHOP 4th – 8th Sept 2017 £895 

 

 

North-West & Giant’s Causeway, Ireland Blog – Part One – SHORT VERSION

It had been my desire to visit Ireland ever since reading Tony Hawk’s ’Round Ireland With a Fridge’ way back in 2003 whilst backpacking around Australia and New Zealand for a year and this May I decided to venture over the water for a week long explore. I met up with local Irish photographer Bernard Geraghty from Bernard Geraghty Landscape Tours who will be the driver and tour guide on my five-day workshop to the North-West and Giant’s Causeway in September. Bernard to me is your typical Irish fella. Cheerful, cheeky, funny, extremely helpful and up for a good craic (laugh) not to mention an excellent driver and a very knowledge tour guide regarding the numerous locations that we would be visiting during the first two days together of my seven in Ireland. Here is a brief selection of images of the locations we visited.

Bernard Geraghty Landscape Tours and I
Bernard Geraghty Landscape Tours and I

Melmore Head was a brief ten-minute walk from the minibus but the views from the top of the cliffs were stunning. A couple of hours wandering along the cliff tops shooting the rock striations into the ocean while a ground level assault on the wonderful small rocky sections on the beach itself while the tide ebbed and flowed around them followed.

Melmore Head, County Donegal, Ireland
Melmore Head, County Donegal, Ireland

I have a love affair with lighthouses and on arrival, Fanad Lighthouse did not fail to impress me.  Lighthouse stood at the end of a lovely rocky outcrop, standing tall and proud at almost 80ft from the base of the foundation to the base of the lantern. It looked impressive painted all white with some lovely steps that take you down the side of the rocks some 70 feet to the ocean. I decided to take four shots in portrait format and stitch them together in Photoshop CC.

Fanad Lighthouse, County Donegal, Ireland
Fanad Lighthouse, County Donegal, Ireland

The mightily beautiful Great Pollett sea arch but this one, however, was huge and it stood isolated from the mainland.  I spent some minutes walking up and down the cliff top path as I looked over at the impressive sight and my eventual shooting position was the one I first thought about on arrival. It often works out that way. Trusting your first instinct is not always a bad idea although I do normally advise people to walk around to have them absorb themselves in the environment.

Great Pollett Sea Arch, County Donegal, Ireland
Great Pollett Sea Arch, County Donegal, Ireland

A lonely sea stack down in the adjoining bay to Great Pollett.

Sea Stack nr Great Pollett Sea Arch, County Donegal, Ireland
Sea Stack nr Great Pollett Sea Arch, County Donegal, Ireland

Mount Errigal is a hugely impressive mountain standing at almost 2,500ft and it is the highest peak in County Donegal. It looks triangular in shape and is very distinctive from any angle. Fortunately for me, It also reflects beautifully well in the calm waters of Loung Nacung Upper first thing in the morning.

Mount Errigal from Lough Nacung Upper, County Donegal, Ireland
Mount Errigal from Lough Nacung Upper, County Donegal, Ireland

The Church of the Sacred Heart in Dunlewey. It had a round tower attached to the left-hand side of the main body of the church with lovely tall slim windows. It stood tall and proud and looked resplendent in the early morning light.

Church of the Sacred Heart in Dunlewey, County Donegal, Ireland
Church of the Sacred Heart in Dunlewey, County Donegal, Ireland

Bad Eddie lies half tilted on the sandy beach of Bunbeg. The boat ran aground during rough seas in the early 1970’s.

Bad Eddie, Bunbeg, County Donegal, Ireland
Bad Eddie, Bunbeg, County Donegal, Ireland

Dunluce Castle is quite an impressive sight. Positioned on the edge of a basalt rocky outcrop, the medieval castle was built in 1500 and is reachable by a bridge connecting it to the mainland.

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland
Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

Standing on one of the 40,000 hexagonal columns at the Giant’s Causeway and looking out over the rest of them as they rose and fell out into the ocean was rather a strange sight. Formed 60 million years ago, the basalt columns were created when molten rock was forced up through fissures in the earth to form the lava plateau you see today. Of course, legend tells a different story.

According to www.ireland.com there was a giant called Finn McCool (also known as Fionn mac Cumhaill). Finn is having some trouble with someone across the water. The Scottish giant Benandonner is threatening Ireland. An enraged Finn grabs chunks of the Antrim coast and throws them into the sea. The rock forms a path for Finn to follow and teach Benandonner a lesson. Bad idea. Benandonner is terrifyingly huge. Finn beats a hasty retreat, followed by the giant, only to be saved by Finn’s quick-thinking wife who disguised him as a baby. The angry Scot saw the baby and decided if that child was that big, then daddy must be huge and bid a hasty retreat himself.

Personally, I think I prefer the legend over science.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Sunset Over the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Sunset Over the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Sunset Over the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

And so, having finished my two days in Northern Ireland and the north-west Ireland but with five more to go down the west coast, I must say that the journey lived up to my expectations and more. Both Northern Ireland and County Donegal in the north-west of Ireland have some outstanding scenery and they will not disappoint anyone who makes the effort to venture over the water themselves armed with a camera and a smile. Ireland, I cannot wait to return to you in September on my workshop.

Part Two of this blog – The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland coming next week.

 

4 thoughts on “North-West & Giant’s Causeway, Ireland Blog – Part One – SHORT VERSION”

  1. Some lovely shots in there Melvin. Look forward to reading your next blog and seing some more images from the west coast of Ireland, which is on my ‘to do’ list after watching the TV series “Wild Ireland”.
    Out of interest, I saw your back disappearing into your new van in the Derwentwater car park a couple of weeks ago. You were off before I had the chance to say hello. It was towards the end of that lovely spell of weather. The weather was changing that afternoon and, looking south from Friar’s Crag, Derwentwater was shrouded in mist – not great for photography!
    Best regards
    Alan

    • Hi Alan

      Thanks for your reply. It is quite likely that you saw me up at Derwentwater a couple of weeks ago as I had a 1-2-1 tuition day with a client. Derwentwater is my favourite body of water in the Lake District as you can shoot it anytime night and day, during all four seasons and any time of the day due to the huge variety of subjects to photograph. Ireland was just lovely. It was a real treat to be able to spend a week driving all those miles and seeing such amazing scenery. I cannot wait to return in September.

      Best wishes Melvin

  2. Just magic! we’ve been to the Giant Causeway; but with 50 thousands of other people it hard to take a descent photo! Loved the shot! Yes Lighthouse are fantastic – don’t know why I love them……I just do!

    • Hi Roslyn

      One of the biggest challenges currently when running workshops is trying to find locations that are not overrun with people but it is becoming increasingly difficult due to the increasing popularity of landscape photography. I was somewhat lucky on the night I ventured down to the Giant’s Causeway as there were not very many people present but long exposure often gets rid of a few people from the shot so long as they’re continually moving. For those that decide to stay and watch the sun going down, they can quite often be included in the photo for scale and interest so it can work either way. I try and remember that we all share this planet of ours and everyone has just as much right to be in a location that I’m at. If I’m that desperate to get a shot without people, I’ll simply often ask politely if they would mind moving from in front of my camera for a moment and you’ll be surprised to hear how many do so. You just need to communicate effectively and courteously with people and they often respond just fine.

      Best wishes Melvin

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