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!

WILD FLOWERS AND RAINBOWS (2)

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One very showery evening with sunny spells – perfect for rainbows – at Cuas, Ballydavid, on the Dingle Peninsula. The warm evening light escaping from the dark clouds enhances the brilliance of the montbretias at the roadside.

More rainbow photos on my website http://helene-brennan.com/tag/rainbow 

WILD FLOWERS AND RAINBOWS

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Rainbow and Wild Flowers on the road to Ballyferriter from Dingle.

Hi there! It’s been some time since you last saw me here. I just took a break from blogging and some other online activities due to constraints related to moving house. Very limited electricity and internet service made it just too challenging to continue blogging. The house move still isn’t complete, the internet is still basic and slow, but I have electricity. I hope it won’t take more than a few more months to complete the process.

Of course I have continued to take photos, though my painting is on the back burner. After several months spent in the lovely location of Ballyheigue, I have moved back to the Dingle Peninsula. It’s surely one of the most stunning places in the world. In fact, National Geographic Traveler has described the Dingle Peninsula as “the most beautiful place on earth”. I agree.

Weather is never predictable here, and very often it’s the weather that makes the image. Looking at many of my photos and paintings you will see that light, shadows, clouds, rough seas and rainbows are essential features in the compositions.

This summer has seen some of the coldest and the wettest weather in about 30 years here. However, the old saying that every cloud has a silver lining can perhaps be applied, as frequent showery and sunny spells have also brought the most lovely rainbows.

The above photo shows one of those fleeting rainbows that suddenly appear, the road to Ballyferriter from Dingle, with the iconic Three Sisters in the distance and stunning wild flowers in the field and by the roadside.

Please take time to view Dingle Peninsula photos on my website http://helene-brennan.com/c25-dingle-peninsula-photos

Thank you for looking at my blog.

Irish Wildflowers – Wildflowers of the Dingle Peninsula

It’s six years since I first posted this and I have now added some more photos (2019).

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“Flaming flowers brightly blaze….” (Don McLean on Vincent Van Gogh).

Indeed the wildflowers of the Dingle Peninsula are brightly blazing at this time of the year, and have not been created by any artist other than nature, admittedly with a little help from the humans who have introduced many non-indiginous species such as the highly invasive montbretia. Nonetheless, I just love the fantastic swathes of colour they create along the roadsides in the rural areas.

The purple loosestrife is a wonderfully colourful flower in Ireland, although I believe it has been a problem in North America, where it is was accidentally introduced and had no natural enemies. The introduction of certain beetles and weevils appear to have successfully controlled it – I hope with no unwanted consequences.

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July and August are the best months for these wonderful exhibitions of nature’s art, offering a joyous and thrilling experience for any tourist or local person driving, cycling or walking along the roads. For the driver, the challenge is finding a parking space to leave the car on these narrow roads, in order to get out and walk or take photos of these spectacular and colourful exhibits.

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Sadly, there are many people who have either little regard or little awareness of this precious heritage, and often one can see evidence of weedkiller spray along vast areas of roadside at times when the flowers haven’t even had time to bloom and seed. So much must have been lost.

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The thrift or sea pinks below can be seen all over the coastal areas of the peninsula, a lovely sight in early summer. In this photo they were getting a bit past their best.

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The photos below were taken in my own wild garden.

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The bee was my target in the above shot. I think it’s the Irish wild honey bee, but I have not had this confirmed. I would love someone to tell me if I’m right – or wrong? They absolutely love this flower, which I think is the rape seed flower? I had a burst of them this year.

 

 

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I love the meadow sweet, (above and below). It has a really sweet smell, deserving its name.

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MORE OF THESE PHOTOS CAN CAN SEEN ON MY WEBSITE:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c802-irish-wildflowers-photos