Displaying items by tag: antrim

Monday, 15 April 2024 23:53

Return to the Dark Hedges, April 2024

Antrim's Dark Hedges are famous for mature beech trees but each year sees several fewer making the iconic road feel less like an avenue.

After scheduled maintenance saw six trees of the famous Dark Hedges removed in late 2023, Storm Isha in January 2024 brought down another three of the beeches.

Large gaps have appeared now in sections of the avenue, and whilst new trees have been planted it seems that the Dark Hedges will disappear for the best part of a century until the replacement beech trees have matured. 

Here, images from April 2024 on a wet and windy day on Ireland's most photographed road. 

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, to photograph on Ireland's Antrim Coast or Wicklow.

Dark Hedges, April 2024
Dark Hedges, April 2024
Published in Guide

I don’t think County Antrim’s Dark Hedges need much of an introduction. The visually stunning avenue of beech trees have arguably become one of the most famous stretches of road in the world.

Certainly, it must be Ireland’s most photographed road.

Having appeared for a few brief seconds in HBO’s Game of Thrones the once unknown row of 300 year old beeches are now often overrun by tourists, many thousands arriving throughout a typical day en route to the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle or covering a dedicated Game of Thrones tour.

The tree tunnel is surely a photographer’s dream with its intertwining overhead branches and large tree trunks of silvery bark that take on the colour of the weather and lighting.

Originally there were around 150 beech trees planted along what was the avenue to Gracehill House at the end of the 18th century, built by the Stuart family - now almost 250 years old there are only 86 mature beech trees left.

And as of next week, there may be 11 fewer; after examination more of the Dark Hedges will be cut and significantly or taken to the stump leaving at least 75 healthy trees. Six are to be removed for definite.

This work is being carried out because of the age and neglect of this man-made natural wonder over recent decades, with lofty boughs breaking and posing potential risk to the visitors underneath.


Dark Hedges with Damaged Trees
Dark Hedges with Damaged Trees


So, will the Dark Hedges still be worth visiting in 2024? Yes I do think so, if you can get here without the crowds then yes. The location has lost a lot of its charm, having gone from grassy and shrubby verges to muddy and unsightly but for the photographer there are still elements worth photographing here.


Large Gaps at the Dark Hedges
Large Gaps at the Dark Hedges


And it will be a long time yet before all of the trees reach end of life. Of course the new trees being planted will take a longer time again to develop into what has been a quiet tourism site for decades.



Join Panoramic Ireland in 2024 to photograph the Dark Hedges, the Antrim Coast and all of its beauty spots.


Published in Guide
Friday, 30 September 2022 23:13

Into the Canopy, Beech Trees at the Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges are one of the most famous locations associated with Game of Thrones.

But of course for those of us from the area, from the fine Causeway Coast and Glens of Antrim, it was always a scenic avenue.

Here, a view into the canopy of those centuries-old beech trees.

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, to photograph in Ireland. From the Antrim Coast to West Cork.

Published in Photo Tours
Sunday, 13 December 2020 01:11

Winter Seascape Photography in Ireland

It's winter now and my mind turns to coastal landscapes.

Here, one from the Antrim Coast of Sheep Island.

Crashing waves batter both sides of the small island, for millennia a well known landmark off this part of the Causeway Coast but now more famous from its appearance in HBO's Game of Thrones.

Sheep Island rises some 30 metres above the North Atlantic with mostly sheer cliffs, a thin layer of soil on top gives a green colour particularly in spring. In centuries past, local farmers would graze sheep out here being able to land only on the calmest of days.

Some doubt that landing a vessel here with sheep is possible, but on a calm day and good local knowledge this would be a difficult, but not impossible, task.

Sheep Island is home to a large proportion of Ireland's population of the northern European sub-species of cormorant and is a protected habitat.

You can just see the coast of Scotland, faintly on the horizon under the grey cloud to the right of Sheep Island in this image.

Sheep Island, Causeway Coast - Antrim
Sheep Island, Causeway Coast - Antrim
Published in Photo Tours
Thursday, 05 December 2019 13:54

After sunset, Blue Hour at the Giant's Causeway

Landscape photography is a fine pursuit; much like the angler will appreciate the solitude, or camaraderie, to be found on a riverbank or lakeside so too the landscape photographer enjoys an evening out on the coast surrounded by nature.

Here is no exception, the famous basalt columns of Northern Ireland's world-famous World Heritage Site Giant's Causeway had done their work for the day and the last feet had been lifted off these natural regular-sided stepping stones.

Published in Photo Tours

The blue hour and golden hour that both occur every morning and evening are rightly considered by landscape photographers to be the best times of day to capture scenic landscapes.

Lasting for a short time either side of sunrise and sunset the ephemeral light is soft and colourful, sympathetic to the natural landscapes.

Published in Photo Tours
Thursday, 28 December 2017 21:16

Antrim Coast on a Stormy Day

The Antrim Coast is a rugged, beautifully scenic place with the wild Atlantic pounding at its shoreline and islands constantly.

Here Sheep Island, a tiny island of basalt rocks sits close in front of the much larger Rathlin Island composed of basalt overlying chalk - evident in the cliffs as seen in the distance.

I was leading a photography workshop on this coastline, a part of Ireland I know very very well, for more information see here.

It was a windy day but still with blue sky and plenty of clouds as we considered that we were lucky to be on land rather than on the high seas, tripods shaking with the wind it was a time to shelter and photograph handheld.

Beautiful, don't you think?


Published in Photo Tours
Saturday, 07 October 2017 22:34

Stormy Day at the Giant's Causeway

A recent photography workshop saw me at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Giant's Causeway on the Antrim Coast in my own Northern Ireland.

It was a stormy day, the previous day saw a lot of rainfall although we did get many images even with the pouring rain, and continuing in the same way this morning started out windy as well but dry.

You can see some of the stormy scenes here of waves pounding this small section of the Giant's Causeway and its distinctive basalt columns.

I have written about the Giant's Causeway here before on Panoramic Ireland.

Join Panoramic Ireland, that's me, on a photography tour to the Giant's Causeway. You know how to contact me by now!

Published in Photo Tours
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 21:51

Somewhere, Beyond the Sea

On a recent photography workshop to my own part of Ireland, the Antrim Coast, we stopped on our way between photographing waterfalls and caves to photograph the scene stretching before us across the sea of Moyle towards Scotland.

This part of Ireland is closest to Scotland, approximately 12 miles of North Atlantic separating Ballycastle from the Mull of Kintyre.

Here we are overlooking the islands of Islay and Jura, the peaked mountains on the horizon are the Paps of Jura.

Published in Photo Tours
Friday, 16 June 2017 21:35

Giant's Causeway at Sunset

On a recent photography workshop to the Antrim Coast, specifically the Giant's Causeway, in between shooting images I made some video of the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site that is close to where I grew up and studied at University.

I have written about the Causeway in recent weeks, you can read more about that here and to book a photography tour or workshop on the Antrim Coast please contact me here.


Published in Guide
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