Displaying items by tag: wild atlantic way

Great Pollet Sea Arch is one of Ireland's finest coastal geographical features. Situated off the coast of County Donegal's Fanad Peninsula, the sea arch stands at 20 metres above the crashing waves along this rocky headland.

Known in Irish as Stua Mór Phollaide (Great Pollet Arch), the sea arch as seen here separated from the mainland on the left due to coastal erosion during the millions of years since these rocks were formed.

Here the rocks are quartzite having been formed during the late Precambrian, somewhere between 2.5 billion and 541 million years ago part of the Dalradian Supergroup that runs between the north of Ireland and central Scotland.

As throughout Ireland, much erosion has taken place in the intervening time and at some point, likely in the last 11,700 years which is known as the Holocene (since the end of the last Ice Age) this section of the headland became a bridge with a sea cave eroded through it and then subsequently it became detached from the mainland behind it.

Thus forming what we see today, an impressive sea arch which is Ireland's largest sea arch. Note that a sea stack, such as Dun Briste is different to a sea arch.

I will be leading a few small group photography workshops in Donegal during 2024 and 2025, to find out more contact me using the contact page or form.

Published in Guide

Intense double rainbow arcing over Doe Castle and the sands of Sheephaven Bay in Donegal on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way.

Doe Castle dates to the 1420s and was home of the McSweeneys, a clan originally from Scotland who came to Ireland as mercenary fighters known as gallowglasses.

The name Doe Castle is an anglicisation of Caisleán na dTuath which means castle of the area or district - a túath being an administrative area in Gaelic Ireland.

The tower itself is 15th century but the outer enclosing walls, the bawn, date to the 17th century.

Doe Castle, County Donegal, Ireland
Doe Castle, County Donegal, Ireland
Published in Photo Tours

Ireland’s Clew Bay is home to many islands, but definitely not the 365 that often gets quoted. These are drumlin islands, an extension of the ‘drumlin belt’ that stretches from County Down on the east coast of Ireland all the way to County Mayo here on the west.

Drumlins are small, rounded hills formed as ice moved across the landscape, and here in Clew Bay became surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic as sea levels rose following the end of the last ice age some 12,000 years ago.

Among the many, remember there aren’t 365 islands in Clew Bay, are a few inhabited islands but the majority are uninhabited.

One of these islands, Dorinish, has a uniquely interesting story. In the 1871 census there were 15 people recorded as living on the two islands connected by a low bar of sand and gravel and measuring 19 acres, but that number dropped to zero by 1901. That remained the case until the late 1960s and early 1970s.

What makes Dorinish Island so interesting? Beatle John Lennon bought the island in 1967 with the intention of living his later years watching the Atlantic sunsets and the mists rolling over nearby Croagh Patrick from where the images in this article are taken.

He even took his Sergeant Pepper’s gypsy caravan out to Dorinish.

Outline of Dorinish or Beatle Island, once owned by John Lennon
Outline of Dorinish or Beatle Island, once owned by John Lennon

Lennon leased the land to Sid Rawle who intended to set up a permanent hippie commune on the island. This only lasted two years, the 30 or so inhabitants living in tents on the windswept island, a fire destroyed supplies and tents and in 1972 the commune on Dorinish disbanded.

Despite only returning once more to Dorinish, Lennon still planned to retire there with Yoko Ono, the plan was not realised due to his untimely death in 1980.

Yoko Ono sold Dorinish in 1984.

Clew Bay as seen from Croagh Patrick
Clew Bay as seen from Croagh Patrick

So the next time you’re in Westport, out on Clew Bay or climbing Croagh Patrick, have a look out for Dorinish, or Beatle Island.


Published in Guide
Saturday, 16 September 2023 01:10

Scenic Ireland, Even on a Grey Day - Donegal

I often get asked about photography and visiting Ireland, one of the most common questions is "What is there to photograph when the weather isn't good?"

Well even in summer, like here in this image, the weather can be grey and often rainy but it's still scenic.

And yet it is how Ireland often is, not the bright sunshine and blue sky of typical postcard images. The landscape is sympathtic to the soft weather of an Irish day.

There's a poetry to the landscape in such conditions as here in Donegal and although I typically head for woodlands in grey weather, I do still enjoy photographing the open landscape with the distant grey of mountains melding in with the grey of the sky.

Join Panoramic Ireland to photograph in the Irish landscape throughout the year.

Published in Photo Tours

It may have been swelteringly hot throughout the rest of Europe this summer, but here in Ireland the heatwave consisted of a week or so of hot weather. 

For much of July 2022 the weather has been colder, wetter and windier than usual and on this occasion we had lots of trouble photographing the coastline along Ireland's famed Wild Atlantic Way.

In fairness, Dublin's Phoenix Park did see 33C in 2022, the second highest temperature recorded in Ireland after the record 33.3C in Kilkenny set in 1887.

I'm not complaining, the stormy weather was much more interesting for photography than sunny, warm and hazy heatwave conditions would have given; crashing waves showing the power of the Atlantic as it meets the geological landscape of these cliffs.

Indeed these cliffs as you see them rise steeply for 100 to 120m above the deep blue ocean below, the rocks here are amongst Ireland's oldest, dating to the Pre-Cambrian.

Join Panoramic Ireland to photograph in Ireland's majestic, stormy wild west.

Published in Guide

Amongst the most popular places to visit in Donegal and indeed in the whole of Ireland and in particular the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way that stretches from Donegal's border with Derry right down to Kinsale in Cork, Slieve League's impressive sloping sea cliffs are inspiring.

The impressive cliffs and uninterrupted Atlantic views of Slieve League are located approximately one hour's drive west of Donegal Town in the south west of Ireland's most northerly county, Donegal.

On my previous visit to these cliffs that rise to about 600 metres off the Atlantic Ocean the weather was bright and golden with beautiful light striking the facets of grey rock and green grass.

On this occasion, summer 2021, it was warm but overcast so there was no direct, golden sunshine light. Still, at least the Atlantic weather was sympathetic to our photographic pursuits and there was plenty of colour as you can see in this image.

Published in Guide

There's something about the smell of the coast - a fresh Atlantic Ocean breeze, sunshine and recently passed rain.

And it's the smell of nature after rain that will be very familiar to anyone who spends much time outdoors, even in the urban environment, indeed a typical Irish town will have that particular post-pluvial odour caused by a mix of geosmin from gardens, parks and hedges and ozone from concrete and tarmac.

Of course the smell of the countryside, fields and forests the same.

And that smell has a name, Petrichor which comes from the Greek petros for stone and ichor which was the blood of the gods.

Published in Guide

I have written about Slieve League or Sliabh Liag before, Ireland's highest mainland coastal cliffs.

This is one of Ireland's finest landscapes with its indented, steep cliffs constantly battered by the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of metres below.

Bright, golden light catches each of the rocky indents.

Join me, in 2024 and 2025, to photograph in Ireland's most scenic locations including Antrim, Donegal, Galway, Wicklow and Waterford.

Published in Photo Tours
Sunday, 13 December 2020 22:06

Landscapes of the West of Ireland, Connemara

The sky above the west of Ireland, in particular Connemara, is more impressive than those of the rest of Ireland.

Big, open blue skies and stormy skies stretching for miles are the likely scenes awaiting the photographer and visitor alike.

Panoramic Ireland's photography workshops run all year round in Connemara, in Dublin and throughout Ireland.

Contact me today to find out more about the places and options for 2021.

Big sky over the Atlantic Coast of Connemara, Ireland
Big sky over the Atlantic Coast of Connemara, Ireland


Published in Photo Tours
Monday, 28 September 2020 00:43

Sunset in Connemara - Autumn Equinox

Sometimes it's just as simple as this, the sun goes down and you're in the right location.

Here, the Atlantic and the sunset fast approaches. The sun appears from behind a thick band of cloud just before it sets in the west on the autumn equinox when day and night are of equal length.

The days have of course been getting shorter since the summer solstice but here at the autumn equinox summer truly leaves us in Ireland and the shorter days are balanced out by longer nights.

The sun will of course rise in the east again on the following morning but we will see less and less of Earth's lifegiver until December 21st when the day length reaches its shortest.

Join Panoramic Ireland on a photography workshop, in person or virtually, in Ireland during 2020 and 2021.

Published in Guide
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