HYACINTH GARDEN

Photos of a beautiful garden of hyacinths in West Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, in the South West of Ireland

My camera and I have been rather idle lately, but a friend of mine asked me to capture her lovely hyacinths before the season finished. I was glad to do so, because it is such a lovely garden.

Thanks for viewing my photos. I have a category of Irish Wild Flower Photos on my website. Your visit would be much appreciated.

CLOGHER EVENING

Photos of Clogher. I often visit Clogher Beach, being not far from my home. Many people, including myself, are attracted here in rough windy weather, because this is the place to get really big wild rough waves. But this was a very calm evening, with disappointing grey cloud cover. I was driving past, intending to go somewhere else, but a window of interesting light brought me down to this Beach.

It was particularly this skein of mist illuminated by the sun that attracted me. However it didn’t last long.

I have taken hundreds of photos here, so it’s hard to find something different to capture. It’s usually a matter of finding something different about the light or the weather conditions.

The Island in the distance, behind the mist, is Inis Tuaisceart, which many of you would have seen in my previous photos, It’s one of the Blasket Islands group and is also commonly known as the Sleeping Giant, or locally more likely called the Fear Marbh (Dead Man).

There is a nice little sandy beach here, but my photos above are showing the rocky end.

I took a walk along the Cosán na nÉighe cliff walk, a favourite walk of mine. It was so calm and peaceful. The water can be really wild here. Below is an earlier one I took in some rougher weather, for comparison.

Some of these rocks and Islands have become so familiar to me that they are almost like old friends – friends I have known through life’s trials and tribulations – theirs and mine!

I love this little inlet with the triangular rock, echoing the shape of the Tiaracht Island beyond. Here is another earlier photo in some wild weather, below.

The rocks were surprisingly detailed and colourful in the flat dim light, given a little extra exposure here, with no tripod; so a little less sharp than I would like. Yes, I’m lazy about carrying a tripod, making do with hand-held or some fence posts. The majestic and magnetic Sybil Head is in the above shot.

At Cuas ne nÉighe, in this shot above, with the Three Sisters in view.

The sun peeped out to say goodnight, briefly, before quietly dropping down below the horizon.

Goodnight!

Many more of my Sleeping Giant images, seen from different parts of the Peninsula, can be accessed here

I really appreciate your visit, thank you.

STORMY DAYS

I’ve lost count of the number of storms we’ve had in less than two weeks now. It has been pretty fierce. But here is one day I ventured out to Brandon Creek, from where an Irish monk, St. Brendan is believed to have sailed to America with a small group of other monks, in the sixth century AD. The weather must have been a lot better then! They would have sailed in a currach, a timber framed boat covered in leather, traditionally oak bark tanned and soaked in sheep’s wool grease.

Tim Severin a historical re-enactor recreated this voyage and sailed from this same place in 1976 in a similar boat, meticulously made according to the information in the document Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis. His conclusion was that Brendan’s voyage to America was not only possible, but probable! He published his account of this voyage in his book The Brendan Voyage in 1978.

I’m so impressed by the story, true or not, that when I visit this place, a few miles from my home, I like to imagine the monks setting out on their voyage, all those hundreds of years ago, with their boat greased and loaded with supplies, waving goodbye to a crowd of people standing on the cliffs above with great excitement and trepidation and (according to the legend), reaching America seven years later.

On the bottom right of the photo above you can see the pier. A great place for shots but often very dangerous. Some people have been swept off this pier by the massive waves. On this occasion the tide was not high, so we took the risk and went down there.

Of course these rough waves are irresistible and you will often find people down there. A local musician was in the process of being filmed against this backdrop. I’m afraid we got in the way a bit.

The above shot, is of me, not by me, running from a big splash about to crash on top of me. It looked worse from where I was standing! Photo by Margret Shea.

The surface of the water was thick with this creamy brown foam. I have seen it worse than this, with no clear water showing at all.

Flurries of foam flying in the air. Not so good for your car!

More views from back up on the top.

Thanks for viewing my blog.

More Brandon Creek images here:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/brandon+creek

FROM THE DINGLE ROAD

The roadside views on the Dingle Peninsula are often stunning and sometimes I stop for a few captures. There are two roads from Dingle to Tralee, the Conor Pass road being arguably the most awesome, but the other route – the main road in fact, is also a beautiful drive. These shots here were taken from the main road between Annascaul and Dingle.

There are some – what we would call – awful bad bends, or hairpin bends, with some laybys or passing places, where one often sees tourists stopping to take photos. The views here are always lovely, but sometimes even more special.

These photos were taken at one of these laybys in late November, as the golden evening sun was dropping low, catching the tops of the trees and bushes and showing the contours of the fields and hills. It was too lovely to ignore as I passed and as I had my camera with me I stopped and fired away!

According to Google Maps, these photos are looking over the area known as Acre.

As I approached the town of Dingle, I saw this view of Skellig Michael against the pink sky. I stopped again for another shot. Would you believe I didn’t even see those sheep at the bottom of the view until I was viewing the photos on my computer. If I had seen them I might have dropped the camera to get a better composition. But perhaps there was something I was trying to cut out at the bottom, I don’t remember. I was tempted to crop some of the sky to balance the composition??

There are hundreds more of my photos of the Dingle Peninsula on my website. All for sale, many offered in different sizes, large and small.

I appreciate your visit to my blog, thank you so much.

CASTLEGREGORY IN WINTER SUNSHINE

These photos are from Castlegregory on the Northside of the Dingle Peninsula, the other side of Mount Brandon.

There is a busy little harbour, with the usual small fishing boats and several currachs, traditional rowing boats, Like Dingle, Castlegregory has a very enthusiastic rowing club. Local and National regattas have not happened in the past two years due to Covid.

It’s a really popular place for surfers, even on a January day. I got a bit carried away taking photos of the surfers, even though they were a bit far out for my zoom lens. I had to crop the photos to give the figures a bit of prominence – not ideal but it works to some extent.

Looking over to the left of the surfers, the light from the low winter sun on the hazy spray created lovely atmospheric effects.

The mountain in the background is Mount Brandon

The light on the waves was very compelling. I had to take several more shots!

Thanks for your visit. I hope you like the foamy sea images. If you would like to explore more images of the wild and beautiful ocean, please checkout my website for paintings and photos. Have a great week!

CLOSE OF DAY ON BÉAL BÁN BEACH

These photos were taken on a beach walk as the sun was sinking on a winter’s evening. It had been a welcome fine day after some serious stormy weather. Storm Barra left many of us without electricity, phones, internet and many also had no water for several hours – on and off over a few days. This lovely calm evening gives no hint of what had befallen us earlier. But who am I to complain, my sympathies go out to all those who experienced the horror of those tornadoes in the US.

The atmosphere was a little hazy.

This is Dún an Óir, a short walk beyond the beach.

On the return along the beach, the sun had dropped down and the sky was pinking up nicely.

Back home, the sky was still pink, for this capture outside my house.

Thanks to all of you who view my posts. I hope you all have many lovely days and nights and stay safe from all bad weather and viruses.

If you have an interest in images from the Ballyferriter area please check out this link

ANNASCAUL LAKE

Photos from around the beautiful and magical Annascaul Lake, on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, in the South West of Ireland.

It was high time I returned to Annascaul to walk around the lake and take photos there again. I sometimes pass through the village of Annascaul (from the Irish Abhainn na Scáil, meaning river of shadows) while driving to or from Tralee. It’s about half way along the peninsula. Each time I pass through I promise myself to make a photo trip there again, but then I would forget about it for another while!

It was a crisp, bright, sunny November day, but so cold in the shadows. The sun doesn’t shine on this side of the lake very much at this time of the year – or probably not at all. In spite of the cold, there was a campervan parked beside the lake (above). It must have been a cold night there. A graphic on the side of the camper said “Live, Love, Laugh” I wouldn’t argue with that!

I don’t remember seeing the lake so still and glassy before! The reflections were amazing!

The lake is about two miles or more from the village and has a small car park at the lakeside.

A path runs alongside the river, which was in the cold shadow of a mountain for a good distance

At last – rising up into the sunlight. I love the way the sun caught the wintry grasses and rushes.

No sheep anywhere today. The farmer must have taken them down. I have old photos of sheep here in this view during my previous winter walks here.

It was a little too late to continue up the path to the top of the ridge from where there are views to both sides of the peninsula. Hopefully I will do that next time.

Back down at the lake, I walked around for a last few captures.

While walking in this area I am always reminded of the amazing Tom Crean, and I cannot end this post before telling you a little about him. Some of you will know all about this Antarctic explorer but some won’t have heard of this modest Kerry man who left home at 15, joined the British Royal Navy, sailed on three epic Antarctic expeditions with both Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton between 1901 and 1916 and demonstrated his superior endurance, integrity, bravery and saved many lives by his massively courageous actions.

On his return to Annascaul he bought this pub, which he ran until his untimely death from a burst appendix at the age of 61. In the windows above and below are the names of the three ships on which he sailed and the dates.

Inside there is plenty of Tom Crean memorabilia on display. The pub used to be painted in blue and white, which seemed more appropriate than the orange and white.

I hope to return to this area to get more shots up in the mountains.

Many more photos of the Dingle Peninsula on my website.

Thanks so much for your visit.

DIGITALLY ORIGINAL PAINTINGS

I’ve gone digital – perhaps it’s just a temporary condition…. time will tell.

There is something easy and admittedly lazy about just sitting in your armchair and pushing your finger around a tablet screen. I mean there’s no mess, no smell and no brushes to clean. I’ve had this mini computer/tablet for a couple of years now. I purchased it for travelling, but with the pandemic restrictions I have hardly used this little gadget. I recently picked it up and started fiddling with it – found this digital painting app (Sketchbook), which may have been pre-installed, or I may have installed it myself, I really can’t remember.

So, I thought I must give it a try. I didn’t look at any how to do it videos, it was a journey of trial and error. These are the results, in order of execution. They are entirely ‘painted’ by myself and I have not simply manipulated any ready made image. I used only my finger for the first 4 or 5 pictures and later purchased a little pen, allowing for more accuracy.

Most of the images were just developed from my imagination, and for some I used some of my photos as inspiration, to create specific and familiar local rock structures.

As you might guess, I was not aiming for a photographic representation, but tried to just accept and utilise the properties of the ‘medium’ and portray the feel of the moving, splashing and rolling sea.

Above are the rocky structures as seen from Béal Bán Beach, Ballyferriter. My followers might recognise these images from my previous paintings and photos. I have recently also completed an oil painting of this view.

Sybil Head, above.

I hope you like my first digital images. Thanks so much for looking. Have a great week!

COBWEBS

A surprise find as I was cycling along the road near my home! I’d never have seen these if I were driving in my car. The weather was very misty and the fine mist was clinging to these cobwebs. They were so beautiful. I only had my mobile phone and promised myself to return later with my DSLR camera, but forgot all about it.

Thanks for looking, it’s appreciated!

FROM CLOGHER HEAD

Clogher Head has some of the most stunning views of the Dingle Peninsula. Driving (yet again!) around on the Slea Head scenic route from Dingle, leaving Dunquin behind, one approaches a bend as Sybil Head first comes into view, and then it’s just WOW! Of course it depends on weather and visibility to some extent. There are usually several tourist cars parked in a few small spaces on the roadside, even now in October, there are tourists about, as you can see in the above photo, where they are beside the Star Wars plaque which was placed there during the filming of one of the Star Wars movies, on the top of Sybil Head, just straight across from here. A telescope was also installed – still there , but I don’t know if it works now.

Clogher Beach and the Three Sisters.

It’s the sunlight and cloud shadows that I find so beautiful here, and this is what makes every photo different – having captured many images of this area several times before.

Mount Brandon is in the background.

Ballydavid Head, appears in between The Three Sisters and Mount Brandon

Looking away from the coast, the peak on the left is Cruach Mharhain, and I have forgotten the name of the small stoney peak on the right.

I always feel that Sybil Head has an amazingly powerful presence. That rocky spine looks like the vertebral column of a live creature.

Continuing along the coast, there are superb views of the Blasket Islands. I was dismayed at the sudden heavy cloud cover. It was bloody cold too, considering on the previous day I was enjoying warm sunshine on a beachand not even needing a jacket.

Great Blasket Island above. This was inhabited by a vibrant community until emigration took its toll and the remaining aging population could no longer sustain itself, compounded by the difficulty of getting essential services to the Island, especially in bad weather. The last of these people were evacuated in 1953. Thousands of tourists visit the island every summer, to learn about the many writers who wrote about their life here, and see where they lived, and to enjoy the natural wild beauty of this most westerly part of Europe.

The other two islands seen here are the Tiaracht (middle) and Inis Tuaisceart (AKA Sleeping Giant) on the right.

I have done a large painting of the view above, showing better weather and more colour! It was sold to a customer in Canada, during lockdown. It did eventually get to its destination, thank goodness.

Now we can see in the distance the ruin of the schoolhouse from the Ryan’s Daughter film, made here in 1970, with Robert Mitchum and Sara Miles. Robert Mitchum was the schoolmaster of this school and Sarah Miles was his young wife. A story of a different time in this country. There are many who would like to have seen this building and several others that were constructed for the film, preserved and used in some way. But planning laws and other issues got in the way.

It was this movie that brought the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula to the world, and triggered the start of the tourism business here. Until then, it was economically a very poor place. Local people got jobs as film extras, builders, drivers – all sorts. They were paid more than they ever earned in their life before. Many are still talking about it. It changed Dingle forever.

It was my intention to walk to the schoolhouse, but the cold breeze got the better of me! We turned back. Next time I’ll wear more layers. Winter is coming.

I have previously published a number of posts with references to the Ryan’s Daughter film. This one shows many photos of the schoolhouse:

TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING – The Schoolhouse from the Ryan’s Daughter Movie.

More about Star Wars in this post:

STAR WARS IN KERRY

Thanks for viewing. Have a great day!