Displaying items by tag: nature

January and February are months that see the beginning of colour in the Irish countryside, in gardens and in hedgerows but also in woodlands.

Here, a little patch of fresh green and white from snowdrops Galanthus nivalis known as Plúirín sneachta in Irish.

As I spent the first weeks of 2024 photographing Atlantic rainforest in the west of Ireland, natural woods covered in mosses, lichens, ferns and native trees - all under the influence of Ireland's relatively mild and wet climate, I encountered these random patches of fresh white bobbing in the wind.

The woodland floor is red and brown, ivy, moss and ferns providing green throughout the winter yet the standout of any woodland in January are these delicate-looking but very hardy plants. Especially in a winter and spring with little to no snow such as 2024. Don't forget that spring starts on Saint Brigid's Day (1st of February) in Ireland.


Snowdrops or pluirín sneachta in an Irish woodland in February.
Snowdrops or pluirín sneachta in an Irish woodland in February.


And there were already a few primroses coming through too. These little native flowers flower usually from February through to May, depending on location. The latin name Primula means first flower and the Irish name Sabhaircín comes from sabhairc which is the Irish word for fresh - little fresh or freshy in this case.

Primrose (Primula vulgaris) in a natural Irish woodland in February. Known as Sabhaircín in Irish.
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) in a natural Irish woodland in February. Known as Sabhaircín in Irish.


I have written about snowdrops before of course.

More on the woodlands of the west of Ireland to follow.

To join me photographing in the woods of Ireland, including the temperate, Atlantic rainforest use the contact page to find out more.

Published in Photo Tours
Wednesday, 11 January 2023 19:13

Winter Walk in the Woods

While researching new locations for photography workshops recently, I found this very scenic woodland for the first time.

Not a famous location, and all the better for it. This woodland is quiet and has a mixture of native and non-native broadleaf trees.

Unfortunately it is increasingly being surrounded by large conifer plantations that often result in the decline of these deciduous arboreal islands and the life that exists therein.

Walking in the Woods, Winter in Ireland
Walking in the Woods, Winter in Ireland

I don't think it is an ancient woodland, rare places in Ireland, but it certainly is old and has the look of a very pretty wood indeed with narrow, twisting paths, a river, moss-covered rocks and trees, as well as plenty of wildlife.

I will be back here to photograph and to lead photography workshops so if you would like to join me to learn how to photograph woodland scenes, contact me to improve your photography in 2023 in Ireland's fantastically scenic woodlands.

Published in Guide

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
Published in Guide

A recent photography tour in County Donegal brought us to the edge of a mountain to photograph the landscape of Ireland's most northerly county.

The weather was overcast, torrential rain had put an early end to photographic pursuits the previous evening, so despite a long journey across the country we headed off to photograph at least a few of the scenes missed.

Just off the boggy path, sodden from the recent heavy precipitation, we spotted a relaxed sheep just sitting on the edge of a rock. 

With a smile it watched our every move, unperturbed by our presence and the glass of our long lenses pointed right at it.

No doubt finding mirth at our clumsy perambulation across the narrow, slippy track.

For a time this was the most photographed sheep in Donegal, and the most accommodating, as it continued with its perfect pose for some time.

A moment of utilitarianism.

On we went in search of waterfalls and ancient ruins.

Join Panoramic Ireland, that's me, to photograph in the Irish mountains or the urban wilderness of Dublin.

Sheep relaxing in Donegal's rugged mountains
Sheep relaxing in Donegal's rugged mountains
Published in Photo Tours

Like my previous post, this is one of trees providing shelter for animals but trees of course don't just provide shelter on cold and stormy days, as seen here on hot summer days too.

It was a hot day in Kilkenny, one of those fine June days when Ireland is awash with colour and the smell of warmth as temperatures hit the high 20s Celsius.

Stopping by the ruins of an old church we spotted the unfolding scene of horses chasing cows away from the shade of this tree.

Like a scene from a Western film we watched the riderless horses, with their sheeny-sweaty musculature, rounding up the relaxing cattle and herding them off into the large field before returning to the shady coolness under the protective canopy.

Published in Guide

This lone and windswept tree prepares for another tough year of growing, its short stature and horizontal growth shows the direction of prevailing winds.

Clearly this side of the small lake makes for difficult growing conditions, the far side being more sheltered and with deeper soils supports a small natural woodland of upright trees.

Trees provide a focal point for photography whether that be standalone trees on ridges or hills, deciduous woodlands or planted neatly in urban parks.

National Tree Week 2021 is here and I am posting some of my favourite tree images from over the years. Check back again tomorrow to see more.

Published in Guide

Lesser Celandine Ficaria verna is a bright, colourful spring flower in the Irish countryside that often carpets woodlands, riverbanks and lower hedgerows between March and May; with its heart-shaped leaves and bright glossy yellow petals it is amongst the first flashes of colour after the long dark months of the Irish winter.

One of the Irish countryside's stars of spring, Lesser Celandine is famous for its sun-worshipping flowers that open in sunshine but rapidly close when in shade.

There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,

That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;

And, the first moment that the sun may shine,

Bright as the sun himself, 'tis out again!


William Wordsworth, THE SMALL CELANDINE from Poems Volume II 1815

Published in Guide
Saturday, 16 January 2021 22:27

How Now Brown Cows

'How now brown cow' goes the old saying which is often used in elocution, it's also a phrase often asked of us who come from Northern Ireland.

Most from the other corners of Ireland find how northeners pronounce the 'ow' sound to be funny.

Of course, there are many different Northern Irish accents but this one remains a favourite.

Published in Guide
Thursday, 26 November 2020 22:16

In the Woods, a Bright Clearing

The greenery of a woodland clearing is a relaxing place to stop and admire the scenery of the natural environment.

Here, a mixed woodland of native Irish trees on the left gives way to imported, planted sitka on the right, the forest here becomes dark and uninviting.

But in this small boundary area, grasses and mosses grow in the light-filled clearing and of course I found my eye drawn through the scene deeper into the deciduous woods.


An Irish Woodland Scene
An Irish Woodland Scene

Here, an ancient Irish woodland: https://panoramicireland.com/photo-tours-blog/116-ancient-woodland-co-kerry-ireland

Published in Photo Tours

One of the few yellow ladybirds to be found in Ireland is the 14-spot ladybird Propylea quattuordecimpunctata which, like most ladybirds, feasts on the gardener's enemy - aphids.

Here, seen walking around looking for dinner this charming ladybird is sure to make anyone growing fruit and vegetables happy.

Also known as ladybugs in North America, the Irish name for ladybirds is Bóín Dé which translates as 'God's little cow' - quite a pleasant name for this little beetle.


Published in Guide
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