In September 2012 I took a trip, which was for me one of a lifetime to the West Coast of Ireland and the Aran Islands. I know to some it’s not very far but to me it was an adventure. I have to confess I didn’t know much of that part of Ireland or Ireland itself so to have the chance to visit and on a Photography Tour with the Irish photographer, Brian Cooney was a real plus; he took us to places we probably would have never have found. For sometime now I have wanted to record the trip not only with photos but also a written record of the journey, something to look back in years to come and revisit in spirit at least. I wrote some notes of the trip when I returned so I have them to refer to and of course all the pictures I took while I was away.
The tour was from Sunday 16th September to Saturday 22nd so rather than write it up in one blog I shall split it into a number of pages, to help make it easier to look through and for me to write, rather than one long epistle!
Saturday 16th September
I left Dorset early on Sunday morning, Rod, my husband took me to Poole to catch a National coach to Heathrow. I had to catch a flight in the afternoon to Shannon airport. the flight was only and hour, it was all the travelling at both ends that took the time as always.
I was picked up at the airport by Brian and we had an hour and half journey to our hotel in Doolin. A modern contemporary building very comfortable and very good food. One of the memories will be all the amazing food I had on the trip. Some really quality meals which I thoroughly enjoyed! I just had time to drop my case off in my room and then meet the other members of the group; there were four photographers and two non-photographing spouses, a nice small group who I got to know well through the week.
I would soon realise how the trip was going to go a whirlwind of moving and visiting many places. I didn’t ever empty my case, I just grabbed what I needed for the day and that was usually top, trousers, waterproofs and coat and of course walking boots and I more or less lived in them! Anyway we were off to our first shoot that evening, I had to find my tripod in my case, my camera bag was my hand luggage from the flight and we were off.
Our first visit was to one of Ireland’s iconic landscapes, The Cliffs of Moher, standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point.
More information and history can be found on the Cliffs of Moher website
By the time we got there the sun was going down, the weather was a little changeable but the views were amazing looking over to the Atlantic, next stop America!
O’Briens tower was built in 1835 by Cornelius O’ Brien, a local landowner. He saw the potential for tourism and had the tower built at the highest point of the cliffs for 19th century visitors as a viewing area.
Monday 17th September
The pace was not going to slacken and it was an early start for the next location. We crept out of the hotel around 5.30am to drive to Fanore beach, County Clare. Situated on the edge of The Burren, a National park, which we would see more of later in the week. Fanore featured in the comedy series Father Ted a number of times.
When we arrived the wind was blowing and there were storms around, it was pretty cold. We set up our tripods to take images before the dawn and I took some views of the beach and rocks. Because it was still quite dark the shutter speed was slow giving a misty, milky look to the sea.
After a while many of the group decided that they would prefer to go back to the hotel as they were getting cold and wet, Brian the leader, one of the group Penny and myself decided stick it out and see if there was going to be a sunrise. I wasn’t going to miss out! I’m so glad I did as soon after the group went there was a beautiful wild sunrise, the colours and clouds were amazing it was worth waiting for.
Once the dawn came the light soon changed and we returned for a well earned breakfast to the hotel, which was very welcome.
We would then get ready for our next adventure, three days in the Aran Islands…