Beach Walking – Ventry Beach

Ventry Beach

Beach walking in Kerry is one of the many privileges available to those who live here. Kerry has several beautiful beaches, many of them absolutely stunning – long, short, rough, refined, friendly and not so friendly, but all of them a real joy to experience.

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On Ventry Beach, Dingle Peninsula, bathed in a beautiful warm coloured afternoon light on a winter’s day, with a view of the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula across the bay.

Ventry Beach, on the Dingle Peninsula, about 5 miles from Dingle town, is one of the many, much loved blue flag beaches. At about 3 miles long it makes a perfect distance for a regular walk.

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The sunlight glistening on the water at Ventry Beach

Ventry Beach 204

In this view the snow can be seen is on the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula in South Kerry

 

The sea is not so rough here as a general rule, being quite sheltered and it’s a popular beach for swimmers. Observing the long, gentle, uniform waves breaking on the beach is a marvellous meditation. At certain times on a sunny day the sunlight glistens and gleams on the frothy foamy breakers and swirling, swishing, whispering sudsy water.

From the beach can be seen the Iveragh Peninsula (South Kerry), famous for many things, notably the Ring of Kerry route around the peninsula, a popular tourist route, and also for Mount Carrantuohill, (the highest peak in Ireland), which can be seen from here. It’s particularly beautiful on a clear evening, or a winter’s day when snow covered – not a very frequent event.

 

On one end of the beach can be seen the village of Ventry, appealingly nestling on the gently sloping hillside, and depending on your viewpoint, Mount Eagle and Cruach Mharhain can be seen and at the other side is Mount Brandon – all beautiful walks for another day.

Birdlife is plentiful here, although numbers appeared to diminish after our two bitterly cold winters. We are now almost through the second milder winter since then, and things may be starting to recover.

On some occasions the clouds may form a blanket-like layer – more like a fluffy white duvet descending over the entire area – an event which, if one painted, nobody could believe it to be real or possible.

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A duvet-like blanket of cloud descends over the hills around Ventry Beach

Sand comes mainly in two shades here – dark and light. This enables the creation of a striking wavy repeat pattern all over the beach in low tide, as the retreating water drags the two different colours while separating them, towards the sea. Also, the receding water creates exquisite rivulets in the sand, enhanced by the contrasting tones. See: http://helene-brennan.com/c105-sand-paintings.

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A pattern created in the sand on Ventry Beach as the tide drops and the two shades of sand separate, dragged by the retreating water.

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Another picture of sand patterns on Ventry Beach

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Retreating Tide on Ventry Beach

The persistent rough weather this winter has ravaged the sand dunes, but I have seen this happen before. Nature has a way of destroying and renewing. By the end of the summer you won’t even notice the damage.

More images of Ventry and other places on the Dingle Peninsula can be seen on my website at http://helene-brennan.com/c25-dingle-peninsula-photos.

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DINGLE PENINSULA PAINTINGS

Oil pastelsOIl pastels Ferriters cove 1 Oil pastels Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, in the South West of Ireland, is one of the earth’s most gorgeous places.  As with most parts of the country, it’s seen at its best when there is good sunlight, which enhances the characteristically beautiful and luxuriant colours of the land and sea. The range, intensity and vibrancy of blues and greens are particularly distinctive; added to this is the often luminous quality of the green fields, particularly in spring and summer. Summer brings other changes to the landscape as some meadows are cut and the greens turn to shades of beige, pink and pale browns. The hedges appear to expand and soften, indeed resulting in a softening effect on the entire landscape. The often seen dramatic weather – at any time of the year – also adds tremendously to the picture, when there is a juxtaposition of brilliant saturated sunlight, dark moving shadows, with heavy billowing clouds in several shades of blue and purple, white edged; their dark shadows moving across the hills, revealing fascinating contours and details that otherwise may not be noticed.

Being a peninsula, the sea (the Atlantic Ocean) is a dominating feature of the visual aspect of the area.  The sea colours, like everywhere of course, reflect the colours of the sky and clouds, but there is something about the blue that appears here on a clear day. A glorious deep blue – not dark but rich and satisfying. On other occasions, less frequently, there is a very special, rewarding shade of light blue – to be seen for only a short time of the day.  The effect is enhanced by the sun being in such a position that precludes visible shadows on the sea waves, so that the pale colour is not darkened by the shadows on the water. To observe this colour and soak it inside you is like having a deeply relaxing massage

But all weathers have something beautiful and special. The sea and the landscape have many different moods and seasons, ever changing, always compelling. I love painting and photographing these diverse moods, each mood being unique, never to be seen again. If you don’t catch it on the moment, you will never see it like that again. Described by many as a magical place – and why? Well in my view it’s not about magic in the sense of being outside of reality, but about the gloriously therapeutic effect of just being there, experiencing and observing. Being a person who is deeply responsive to visual encounters, this wonderful place is a source of profound joy.

There is so much more to be described; I hope at least to whet your appetite. More  on specific locations later. More paintings on my website: http://helene-brennan.com/c15-dingle-peninsula-paintings