This is the final post in a series documenting our photography trip to Ireland in 2014
We stayed at our final bed and breakfast of the trip for several days, using it as a base for several excursions. This place is worth mentioning because it was literally right on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. There were numerous shorebirds to watch, including a fulmar nest right on the cliff (a terrifying shot to lean out over the 200-foot drop to capture the two-day old chick and its mom). In fact, the entire area was dotted with small lakes containing a wealth of shorebirds we had never seen before.
The sunsets were amazing, and I was able to capture some nice colorful shots of the sun lowering below the bay two evenings in a row, right from the balcony of where we stayed. We also spent an entire day hiking and enjoying the area’s myriad photographic treasures, including coastal farms, fields with wildflowers and insects, a castle in a forest (which we only saw from a distance) and a scenic lighthouse. While exhausting, that was one of our most memorable days, as the hike took us through a number of different types of terrain – from a sandy beach to hilly forests – and walking as opposed to driving allowed us to connect more intimately with the land. The cross at the top of this post was one of the landmarks we walked past, a lonely monument at the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. One of my favorite shots was near the beach, before a field of feathery-soft golden grass that we had to pass through to reach the beach. Shortly after that, we had a brief, stinging encounter with nettles, but we were soon on our way again exploring the area.
We did drive to the lighthouse area, a very picturesque place called Galley Head. The rolling grasslands of the farms abutted against some harsh rocks and crashing waves. This was also the location of the scenic lighthouse we had seen from a distance on our hike the day before. Once again, I utilized HDR and Dramatic Tone for some landscape pics in attempt to capture the beauty of the area. The Dramatic Tone shot of the rocky coastline displayed in the first post of this series was at Galley Head, as was the opening shot in The Technical Side of Art, Part Two, an HDR of Catherine doing her own photography of the coast. I also had high hopes for a 3-stitch panorama I attempted, but I wasn’t technically careful enough on a number of counts, and couldn’t get the shots to align perfectly on my computer when I got back home. If you would like to see more photos of Galley Head, the Ireland album on the Mirrorless Planet Flickr page has several near the end.
Killarney National Park
The last major event in our trip proved among the most spectacular. Even the drive north to reach it was incredible, as the mountain to the left shows. On paper it would seem similar to Connemara, but in reality Killarney has high mountain vistas and green valleys that exceeded all of those other locales. We were back in the western half of the country, and the sky was accordingly grey and flat (and the windiest and coldest of the trip), but there was no denying the majesty of the place. The area is primarily seen via a winding mountain road with (thankfully) numerous lookout points to stop along the way. Because it was the weekend, the whole place was quite crowded, and parking was generally difficult.
I had hoped to redeem my earlier ISO gaff at Killarney with a second chance at a waterfall, but Torc Falls was a major disappointment due to the swarms of visitors risking their lives climbing and sitting all over them just to ruin my shots. With the never-ending crowd, we quickly moved on. I can’t say I captured the Killarney experience well with the photos I took that day, but in more ideal conditions (nicer weather, fewer people) I would highly recommend it for landscape photography.
Before hopping on the plane at Cork to return home, we capped off our Ireland journey with a brief stop at the lovely tourist town of Kinsale, a place that came highly recommended. We weren’t able to enjoy it full swing, as we only had a few hours and most of the shops weren’t open that early in the morning, but we definitely saw the attraction.
With that, our road trip through Ireland ended, but my photography journey has not. I hope it never does, and the OM-Ds continue to be great travel companions.