Darren McLoughlin

International travel photographer and Irishman in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about Ireland or about photography in Ireland.

Such a colourful scene as Cirsium vulgare, the common thistle, provides pollen for the brightly coloured red-tailed bumblebee or Bombus lapidarius in the Irish countryside.

The red-tailed bumblebee is a common bee in Ireland although according to a 2006 NPWS report it was listed as near threatened.

I could have sat and watched, and indeed photographed, these bees all day as they came and went but on I then went leaving them to their industriousness; finding another scene to photograph as the hot summer day baked the landscape all around.

It is interesting to note that the red-tailed bumblebee is reported as being almost absent from agricultural areas in Ireland and yet this is exactly where I found it, the edge of a large barley field in the Irish countryside that had an abundance of flowering thistles at its edge. A good sign hopefully.

The field was a-buzz with bees of different types including the buff-tailed bumblebee that I wrote about in a recent post.

Join me to photograph bees, boats and beaches at blue hour in Ireland on a Panoramic Ireland photography workshop.

Red-tailed bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius on thistle flower in Ireland, Summer 2022
Red-tailed bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius on thistle flower in Ireland, Summer 2022


Red-tailed bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius on thistle flower in Ireland, Summer 2022
Red-tailed bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius on thistle flower in Ireland, Summer 2022
Sunday, 14 August 2022 23:12

Lightning Over the Church, Ireland

The heatwave that has finally hit Ireland has now ended, with thunderstorms over the country.

Temperatures exceeded 31C this week but as of Sunday night thunder and lightning is now the dominant weather.

Here, lightning over one of Ireland's many fine church buildings.


The thistle Cirsium vulgare may be the national flower of Scotland, but they do also grow well in Ireland and Irish bumblebees such as this buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris enjoy the purple flowers in late summer.

Seen here on a hot August day in 2022 in the south east of Ireland, where I found some at the edge of a field which was a hive of activity for these social bees.

Sunday, 07 August 2022 22:40

Meet Jack, Cork's Friendliest Cat

Meet Jack the black cat, Cork's friendliest cat.

Walking through Cork, before or after one of my Cork City photo tours I often take time to go out of my way and visit Jack, who will definitely appreciate it if you do indeed stop to say hi.

Join me to photograph in Cork or somewhere else in Ireland.

Red sky at night, shepherd's delight goes the old saying. And that red sky in the evening does usually bring good weather the following day.

There is science to back up the ages old phrase, a red sky is caused by small particles of dust and other airborne particles are trapped in the atmosphere by high pressure.

These particles block light from the sun, scattering or deflecting the light as it passes through the atmosphere.

The shorter wavelengths of blue and violet get scattered more easily leaving more of the longer wavelength red light to make its way across the sky.

Of course, to see this weather phenomenon often it helps when the predominant weather comes from the west which it does in Ireland.

So between you and the sun is the incoming high pressure from the west with dust that scatters shorter wavelengths of light.

Photographers usually enjoy photographing sunsets, so maybe it should be changed to Red sky at night, photographer's delight.

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, to photograph fine sunsets like these all over Ireland.

Red Sky at Night, Shepherd's Delight over Ireland
Red Sky at Night, Shepherd's Delight over Ireland


Red Sky at Night, Shepherd's Delight West of Ireland
Red Sky at Night, Shepherd's Delight West of Ireland

Adobe Lightroom Classic is full of shortcuts and learning them all can be slightly overwhelming.

Here is one shortcut that is useful, well two maybe.

Exporting photos from Lightroom is one of the most repeated tasks and speeding up that process can make a project quicker.


There are a few ways to get to the export dialog in Lightroom:

Thursday, 04 August 2022 23:36

Offshore Wave, Ireland's Coast

Standing atop steep cliffs high above the Atlantic Ocean, I watched the power of the incoming swell as it met subsurface changes.

A fairly calm ocean on a warm, late spring day yet this power came from almost nowhere.

It looks small just like a small crashing wave but, for scale, a guillemot flying low over the surging white water helps to illustrate the magnitude of just this one tiny part of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, 03 August 2022 22:41

Ash Tree, Ruins of an Old House

This ash tree marks a little high point, a prominence at the entrance to a small enclosure, beside the ruins of an old stone thatched cottage.

Only a few of the foundation stones remain here, the cottage long since tumbled but this impressive ash, estimated to be 140 years old, still stands and was probably a young tree when the house was still occupied.

I have written about ash trees, known as fuinseog in Irish, before here on panoramicireland.com especially in reference to the disease that is currently making its way through the Irish countryside to destroy one of the most valued and characterful species on the island.

This poor ash might not see out its natural 300-400 year lifespan and end up like so many, a dendritic dead fossil of a once thriving ecosystem.

The Mourne Mountains are the highest and most dramatic mountains in Northern Ireland.

The Mournes sit some 35 miles south of Belfast and visible from parts of the city, most notably those views served as inspiration to CS Lewis for Narnia in his famous tales.

Composed mainly of granite the Mourne Mountains are rugged and peaky, crossed by many paths and surrounded by lush green countryside as seen here.

And of course, the Mournes are the subject of a famous song by Percy French called Mountains of Mourne.

The whole town of London stood there to look on

But for all his great powers, he's wishful like me

To be back where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

Here in the image below, Slieve Donard at the highest point in the Mournes at 853m as the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea under a sky filled with sunrays that would inspire any writer or musician, or indeed photographer.

Join Panoramic Ireland to photograph in the scenic landscapes of the Mourne Mountains and County Down.

Where the Dark Mourne Sweeps Down to the Sea
Where the Dark Mourne Sweeps Down to the Sea
Sunday, 31 July 2022 21:54

Sunlight in the Valley, Ireland

The west of Ireland is one of Panoramic Ireland's favourite places to photograph, often the coast is preferred but sometimes, in cloudy conditions, the valleys of the ancient mountains are more scenic.

Here, in County Mayo, sunshine moves through the valley from the steep, rocky sides to the lakey valley floor.

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, to photograph in the west of Ireland.

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