2020 – A POTTED PERSONAL REVIEW IN PHOTOS

2020 for me started in the beautiful state of Mizoram, in North East India, where I spent Christmas and New Year. Here is the city of Aizawl, built on mountain peaks, and with wonderful sunsets.

Back home to the Dingle Penninsula, in the South West of Ireland, to enjoy, endure, survive the winter storms and the powerful, magnetic and awe inspiring Atlantic Ocean.

And experience the beautiful beach walks!

But….who could have thought…the dreadful Covid-19 came along and threw us all sideways – or worse, in some cases.

I had planned a trip to Italy in March, but had to cancel. Social life was on hold for most people.

Luckily, I was still able to walk and capture the beautiful coastal images – for a while longer, before restrictions became stricter.

More time to study the birds in my garden, through the window.

As a little experiment I recorded myself playing flute with the bird song in the garden. If the image looks upside down to you, it will correct itself when you click it.

Local sunset, below.

Lockdown to a greater or lesser extend affected all of us, world over. Our individual experience of the world became very small, as we were obliged to reduce our social contacts and curtail travel. Many shops and pubs were closed. My regular trad Irish music sessions in local pubs, where I joined in with my flute were cancelled, indefinitely!

For a time my photography focused on my immediate area, and the garden. These sunsets from around the house and very local area take on a caged appearance, as indeed we were caged, all of us, in some measure.

I am very lucky that the local area has many beautiful places for walking. beaches were closed for some weeks, but cliff walks were possible.

My birthday celebration was a cliff walk, with friends. It was lovely.

Much garden navel gazing was undertaken. I never took so many photos of flowers and garden creatures before.

I never before appreciated how beautiful apple blossom can be.

Wildflowers became objects of scrutiny and much enjoyment too.

So many bees in the garden!

– And I discovered just how photogenic the humble daisies can be.

Thistles too!

I am so thankful for my good luck in being able to take many coastal walks.

Seaside and flowers together here. Lovely sea pinks make a wonderful show in early summer.

Beaches finally opened again, in June, I think. It’s all a bit blurred in my memory now, as Covid-19 figures rose and fell and lockdowns went in and out of different levels of severity.

Tourists returned in full force to the Dingle area in the summer, much to the relief of those whose livlihoods depend on tourism.

Sunsets around my area continue to fascinate, less cage-like with the summer foliage.

Lovely coastal and mountain walks. These photos were from different sides of Mount Brandon.

I updated my photos of Dingle Harbour, and took several shots around the town of Dingle.

The swallows raised two families in my shed. These first day out fledgling swallows only had a couple of weeks to grow strong before their long flight to South Africa. I wonder if they made it.

Some apple trees did bear fruit, though hundreds of babies were blown off the trees in summer storms before they were ready to eat. This is the entire harvest from several young trees.

Exploring beyond my own area, as easing of Covid restrictions permitted, I visited Killarney, South Kerry, West Cork and more.

The Gap of Dunloe, near Killarney.

On Cape Clear Island, above, off the coast of West Cork.

The small mainland harbour, Baltimore, County Cork, below.

Back on local Ventry Beach, below.

In October, a cruel hand was served on Dingle. After a several months of Covid-19 related hardships, Fungie, the globally famous Dingle Dolphin disappeared, without trace. Fungie, a wild dolphin has lived in Dingle Harbour of his own free will for 37 years. He was probably about 45 years old. Missed by many, whether they made a fortune running Fungie tourist trips, or whether they were just people who loved to see and play with the dolphin. For sure, Dingle will be a different place without him. This was a major event here. It’s not easy to explain how this wild, free dolphin touched the hearts of Dingle people and many visitors from around the world.

I have no photos of Fungie, preferring to leave that to the Fungiephiles who had developed considerable expertise. Here is a video from Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhardt.

More local captures below.

Fungie is gone, but the Dingle Peninsula remains the same beautiful place.

An autumn forest walk, above, in Glanteenassig Wood, on the Dingle Peninsula.

December shots from Mount Eagle, below.

The Blasket Islands, above.


Snow on Mount Brandon, shot from the garden, heralding the coming of Christmas 2020

On Christmas Day on a local Ballyferriter beach, Béal Bán, some brave swimmers rushed into the cold water, with an air temperature of about 8 degrees C. I did not partake, I prefer to stick to the heated pool these days. But it was fun to be there and support them.

Recent Storm Bella, seemed to last for about three days.

I completed a number of paintings this year, and failed to complete several more – so far. I’ve dicovered that I can be more motivated in that field when I have more activity in general in my life. The slower pace of things this year seemed to diminish my motivation in the more demanding creative side.

Now we are in a 3rd wave of the Corona Virus, with a new more transmissable variant of the virus in the country. In fact a case was discovered in Dingle recently. We have a high level lockdown again, going even stricter after today, but vaccines have arrived in the country; I for one will not hesitate to take advantage when it’s my turn.

So now 2021 approaches. May you all be lucky enough to only have contact with those people who are honest, compassionate and kind, who treat you as they would wish to be treated, and I wish the best of health and happiness to you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

STORM BELLA

Storm Bella has been blowing for a couple of days now. Today I went out for a few shots of big waves, hoping it wouldn’t be too challenging for me.

These photos were taken in the Ballydavid area of the Dingle Peninsula, in the South West of Ireland.

I have to say it was indeed difficult to stand up to the cold strong North West winds, while being battered by rain, hail and sea spray. My fingers went numb, making it difficult to manage the controls on my camera. Keeping my lens clean was impossible. I had to continually wipe it, only to create a smeared affect on the lens. The spray was relentless.  I lost a lot of good images through having a foggy lens.

The results weren’t the best I’ve ever done, but I’m glad I went out and got the fresh air. In these covid days we have to make an effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting. If you enjoy images of turbulent sea, please visit my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/turbulent+sea

NOVEMBER SUNSHINE

 

A collection of photos from Ventry Beach, on a November Day in glorious warm sunshine.  Yes, sometimes we do have lovely weather in the winter here – just not as much as we might like.  But this was one of those lovely days.

Ventry Beach is a few miles from Dingle town on the Dingle Peninsula in the South West of Ireland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The village of Ventry can be seen across the water here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have many more photos from Ventry Beach, taken at different times of the year and in different light.  Please visit my website for more photos.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/ventry+beach

Also, I have published several previous posts here on Ventry Beach. Here are two of them:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/07/25/ventry-beach-2/

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/ventry/

Thanks for viewing my photos. I hope to see you again soon.

LEFT OF MOUNT BRANDON

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On this walk we took a path to the left of Mount Brandon, a different side of the mountain from that my previous post. We had intended to go up Brandon but due to low cloud and skeins of foggy patches coming from the sea we thought it safer to not go to the top of the mountain.  I was secretly glad of this, to be honest, because I didn’t feel fit enough for the more challenging walk we might have taken.

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The landmarks remained the same for much of the walk, but the clouds changed all the time.

 

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This is how Brandon appeared as clouds rolled by.

 

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My guess at this story is that the farmer left this old vehicle here to use as storage for his fencing materials, and it was first vandalised by human eejits, and later attacked by multiple storms.

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These two photos were taken in the same minute, and look how quickly the picture can change in this kind of weather.

 

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We accidentally deviated from our path and arrived at this cliff edge, and sat for our picnic on the grassy slopes below, where I picked up a few sheep ticks – again!  There is Lyme disease here, but one can stay at home and be safe, or go out and take chances.  At least you can’t pass Lyme disease on to anyone else, unlike Covid-19.

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So, back down on low ground, and even on the correct route, just signposted with no obvious path.

A lovely walk with great views, and the foggy clouds even added to the beauty of the scenes. I hope you enjoyed the images.

Thanks for viewing my post. Please click on this tag for different views of Mount Brandon, photos and paintings on my website:

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

MOODY HUES

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Some recent photos from my local beach Béal Bán, Ballyferriter, on the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland. It was one of those moody days, when the light quality could change in an eye-blink. Just a normal day here really.

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I guessed that the tartan slippers belonged to the occupant of a camper parked here. They created an unlikely and incongruous image by the beach.

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Thanks for visiting my post, I hope you enjoyed  this beach walk.  Please visit my website for more Dingle Peninsula photos, with images of several other lovely beaches in this area.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c25–photos-of-dingle-peninsula

ONE OF THOSE SUNSETS

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This one crept up on me, as they often do. I was just settling down to watch one of my favourite TV shows when I glanced out the window and saw these brillant colours in the sky. I nearly didn’t bother, but I decided to go for it, grabbed the camera and ran out and just managed to get a few shots before the colours faded.

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These bare branches make it look quite wintry. We’ve had some very windy days this summer, following on from a particularly stormy winter. Some of the trees in this area haven’t had a chance to grow or hold onto many leaves.

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Thanks for looking. Stay safe!

DINGLE TOWN 2

 

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This is my second post showing photos of the colourful town of Dingle, on the Dingle Peninsula, in the South West of Ireland.

 

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As you can see, this is very much a tourist town, on the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, which is one of the most beautiful scenic places in Ireland, or even the world.  It’s a small town, heavily dependant on tourism for its economic health.  It was a very poor area before the first big movie was made here – Ryan’s Daughter, in 1970.  This not only brought temporary but lucrative jobs for many local people, but the attention of the world was brought to the magnificence of this area.  That was the beginning of tourism  here.  Several more movies followed and the Dingle Peninsula has continued to attract the attention of the world.

 

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Lots of seafood just opposite the harbour – as you might expect.

 

 

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All kind of adventures, climbing walls, sailing,  kayaking, rowing traditional currachs, surfing, kite surfing, swimming with the dolphin…… and everything else on land and sea.

 

 

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This dolphin sculpture has a particular significance in Dingle. it represents Fungie, the Dingle Dolphin, who has been residing in Dingle waters since 1983, when he was about eight years old. Fungie is a very popular and much loved dolphin, who has made millionaires out of a lot of people.  Hard to imagine how one wild dolphin living freely here can have had such an impact on the local economy.  But just do the sums –  all the boat trips packed with people every day to see the dolphin for several months a year.  Imagine how many people come here just to see the dolphin. Amazing that so many people experience such joy just to see Fungie, and there are many real Fungiephiles who just want to spend time with him, and compete with others for time and for that ‘special relationship’ with him.

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It’s the little backstreets that can be most interesting.

 

 

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I don’t know the name of the artist who did these murals, or I would gladly mention it. But if I find out I will include the name here.

 

 

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The place is saturated with artists, to be honest.

 

 

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The above paintings have been here near the harbour since 2010.  I’m a little surprised they are still here. The  artists are Carol Cronin (sorry it’s cropped) Deirdre McKenna, myself third from left and Martine Moriarty. There are others not seen here. These paintings were commisioned by the Kerry County Council.

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A closer view of my 8 ft x 4 ft painting of fishing paraphernalia, nets and chains etc., being just next to the fishing boat dock.

 

 

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Now this is a really creative use of colours! They would be even more vibrant if the sun had been shining on them, but they were on the shady side.  It must be noted that as Covid-19 restrictions are now just easing, most of these shops and businesses haven’t been operational for a number of months and some of them have not been painted up to their normal standard. But these two above are just stunning.

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Covid flexibility! Restaurants have been serving more take-away food and drink.

 

 

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Dingle Pottery. Some of the most colourful pottery you can find is here.  Obviously still closed on this day.

 

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The Díseart.  This was the old Presentation Convent School, now an adult arts and education centre, with links to a US university, (see below).

 

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The photos below are somewhat abstract. They are views in shop and pub windows, which show a kind of fusion of the actual images of the window displays with the reflections of the buildings opposite, and even myself, the photographer.

 

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Dingle Town, Fadó Antique Shop

 

 

 

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Thanks for visiting. I have some photos of the harbour and marina area to show next time.  Please come back.

There are several photos of Dingle and the surrounding area on my website. I hope you will take a look.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c25–photos-of-dingle-peninsula

 

 

DINGLE TOWN

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I thought it might be good to share some photos of Dingle Town, my nearest town, in fact.  It is the main town on the Dingle Peninsula, in west County Kerry, South West Ireland.

 

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This is Main Street, Dingle. I started taking these just as shops were beginning to open up again, after lockdown, and I wished I had done it sooner when it was completely deserted – so much easier to stand wherever you want in order to capture the best views.

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No shortage of pubs in Dingle.

 

 

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Foxy John’s Pub above and Curran’s Pub below are very traditional old Irish pubs which would sell all sorts of supplies, as well as alcohol. They might sell anything from bed linen or food to gardening supplies. In Foxy John’s above you can see the vegetable seed packets and onion sets displayed.

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This photo above is Foxy John’s window, with a display of items for sale and the reflections of Curran’s Pub etc. across the road.

 

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Dingle has many excellent restaurants, great if you can afford them!!

 

 

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This is St James’ Church, Main Street, Dingle, a very modest looking building which is a venue for many concerts and is original home to the very popular Other Voices, which is shown internationally on TV.  Many famous musicians have performed here.  It is usually live streamed to the local pubs, as there are not enough seats in the building for the huge crowd that comes to Dingle for the Other Voices event.

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Below are several photos of Dykegate Lane, off Main Street.

 

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Orchard Lane, off Main Street, three photos below.

 

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I have several more photos of Dingle Town to show later, I hope you will return to see them. Thanks so much for your visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VENTRY BEACH

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Recently I visited Ventry Beach a couple of times. It’s not far from my home on the Dingle Peninsula in West Kerry, on the South West of Ireland, and it’s a nice long beach for a walk.

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Being a fine sunny day, the sky was kind of featureless and with no clouds and moving shadows to add drama, it was a little more challenging to find interesting compositions.  This guy who came by in an inflatable kayak added a little interest to the situation.

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Now this unfortunate creature was not what I was expecting at the far end of the beach. A minke whale, that apparently beached itself. I heard that a couple of nights earlier some people had pulled him back out to sea, but he just came in again.  Despite attempts to keep him hydrated, he (or she) eventually died.

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Note the little heart shape of stones that someone has made.

 

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A sad sight, but so common!

 

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Fishing boats, above.

 

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On an earlier walk, I only had my mobile phone, someone was kite surfing.  I just made the best of the situation.

 

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This mobile home is in a park beside the beach. I decided to photograph it because it used to be mine, some years ago, so I have a sort of emotional attachment to it. It’s had 2 owners since then. The colours and puppets etc. are the current owners’ doing, my colours were mostly inside, at the time. I loved it, but maintaining it was a bit of a responsibility.  The roof once blew off at 5.00 am one morning! Not funny!  One winter, 2013/14,  12 or more mobile homes were destroyed completely there in the storms, and the tide came in around some of the mobiles.

That’s all from Ventry Beach for the moment. Thanks for viewing my post.  More images of  Ventry Beach on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/ventry+beach

Also, do checkout some of my earlier posts with Ventry photos. Unfortunately I have already deleted some in order to make more storage space for my media. But these one are OK I think.

VENTRY

ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL EVENING ON VENTRY BEACH

LAST RAYS OF SUN ON VENTRY BEACH