What can I say about Ireland?
I first visited the eastern coast, north of Dublin, for a short business trip in November 2014. Although I enjoyed my time there it was not leisurely, and I had no time to really explore or immerse myself in the experience. Luckily, fast forward to March 2015 and I was back, on my own, for yet another business trip, but this time for two full weeks, which gave me an entire weekend to myself.
That led to a decision to purchase a ticket for a scenic bus tour up to Northern Ireland, which changed my life more than I could have ever imagined. The stops along the amazing rocky coast, including Giant's Causeway and a visit to the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, were the seeds that grew into where I am today with photography.
Perhaps ironically, all I had with me was my trusty Windows Phone; I never thought about bringing even a point-and-shoot camera, and I did not own a DSLR.
After returning home, I started looking over my photos, tinkering with them in Lightroom (which I had only dabbled in several years prior), and for the first time I was looking at photos I took and feeling genuinely impressed. I remember looking at one in particular and having a bit of a sense of amazement that I had been the one to make it, and thinking to myself, "Maybe I have some talent here." Soon after, I bought a Canon T5i and a couple kit lenses and the rest, as they say, is history.
Of course, looking back at those images today, I desperately want to retrace my steps now that I actually have a "proper" camera and know what I'm doing (well, maybe not the steps across the rope bridge, that was rather nerve-racking... and someone tried to cut through one of the support ropes a couple years ago!).
Unfortunately, I wouldn't return for another four years, until I flew over for another business trip in June 2019. By then, I was completely obsessed with landscape and nature photography and lugged my gear across the ocean, having planned ahead to stay a few extra days.
I had indeed intended to head to Northern Ireland to revisit the locations that first inspired me but, after seeing the weather forecast (heavy rain and flash flooding), I made a last-minute decision to head to the southwest corner of the island instead, to County Kerry. More specifically, to Killarney National Park. I wish I had more time but some of my favorite images of my photography career to-date were made on that trip.
Perhaps it was the lure of the amazing Irish breakfast at the bed and breakfast I rented... anyways, I digress.
Below, you'll find a collection of images from that 2019 trip, followed by some of the cell phone photos that kicked off my journey into photography in 2015 (don't judge them too harshly, some of the editing makes me cringe now!). I can truly say I love Ireland: for its people, for its beauty, and for its impact on my life. Thinking about what that one weekend has meant to me over the intervening years nearly brings me to tears.
Speaking of tears - the sad kind, unfortunately - three of the images from my return visit in 2019 would likely be drastically different if I were to take them today. A fire tore through Killarney National Park early in 2021, burning to the west, north, and east of where I stood to photograph the morning vistas at Ladies View. Over 6,000 acres burned, spanning at least half the park.
Fortunately, it appears the fire stayed just west of Torc waterfall, otherwise another three areas I photographed (also seen in this gallery) would have been destroyed. As it stands, the views I photographed in Dawn at Ladies View, Morning Storm Clearing, and What Once Was were all heavily impacted.
Sorry about ending this on a down note... regardless, I cannot wait to visit Ireland again. Events such as the above make me value the opportunities to photography such a beautiful place all the more; you never know what the future may hold.
Click on each of the photos from 2019 to read more about the backstory for each.