The Winding Path To The Sea

The Winding Path

The steep, winding path of the Blasket Island Ferry at Dunquin, Ireland

As we drove the route around the Dingle Peninsula we often found ourselves abandoning a former plan in order to pursue some other beautiful sight. Sometimes the views we were chasing were based on what we saw ourselves and at other times we were going on information gathered from a new-found friend. This shot, though, was inspired by a postcard of all things. Although I prefer to find my own compositions I often spend a few minutes in a local drugstore or gift shop perusing the postcards from that area. Sometimes the images on the postcards are stock and not even from the region. But, oftentimes the images are from great local scenes both well-known and obscure.

In this case, I saw an absolutely wonderful image of sheep walking up a steep, winding path with the sea and coastal islands in the background. The image was simply too intriguing to not discover more about it. After doing a bit of research I found that the shot was taken at the Blasket Island Ferry terminal in Dunquin, or An Daingean as it is known locally. I won’t even attempt to show how the location is spelled in the native Irish Gaelic!

After driving around a bit and making a few wrong turns, we finally found the ferry. But, the shot from the “terminal” (a very simple six by six hut with a stove and sliding window) was not what I was looking for. So, I set off on foot toward the water hoping the shot would materialize. I quickly found my location and was amazed by what I saw. The ferry-boat docks in a somewhat sheltered cove about a hundred feet below the top of the cliff. Passengers – and sheep, too, apparently – disembark onto a small platform and wind their way up a narrow path toward the headland where I was standing. Even then, the wind was howling. I simply can’t imagine making that transition on a raw winter day with rain and sleet pelting down in frigid temperatures.

For this shot, I found a perch on the grassy knoll you see in the foreground of this shot. I broke out my 14-24 2.8 lens in order to take in as much of the landscape as possible. By balancing in a fairly precarious position I was able to keep my tripod stable and shoot off a series of frames. The biggest enemy this day was the wind. At times it blew so hard that I thought my whole rig would topple to the ground. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Unfortunately, the ferry was not running this day so no unloading of sheep would be occurring. I look forward to visiting Ireland again in order to possibly see that sight and to visit the Blasket Islands.

The Dingle Peninsula is a magical place. Hopefully, this series of images conveys some sense of the beauty of this special place. Enjoy.

Dingle Harbor

Dingle Harbor

The rising moon and clouds lit by the setting sun hang over beautiful Dingle harbor

My favorite part of our trip to Ireland was our time on the Dingle Peninsula. It was everything that I hoped Ireland would be and more. The scenery was beautiful, the music was enchanting, the people were friendly, and the food was plentiful and tasty. I can’t imagine having a better time. I only wish that we could have stayed there for a week or more.

Our stay was made even more perfect by the hotel we stayed in. The Castlewood House is one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It’s either a large B&B or a small hotel. In either case it’s a perfect place to stay. The owners were helpful without being overly inquisitive. The breakfasts that we had there were some of the best I’ve had in my life. The rooms were modern and yet filled with antiques. All that and the walk to “downtown” Dingle was maybe five minutes. I can’t recommend Castlewood House highly enough.

This image was made just after dinner and just before the live music began in the pub we were in that evening. I kept looking up from our table to see how the light was looking. My long-suffering wife shooed me out of the restaurant knowing that I wouldn’t enjoy the music if I had missed the sunset. I spent twenty or thirty minutes taking in the show as the clouds turned cotton candy pink above Dingle Harbor. This image is a bit soft but it gives a glimpse of the pretty little town and harbor of Dingle. Enjoy!



A solitary fishing boat lies at anchor in Dingle harbor

Well, it’s taking me way to long to work through my images from Ireland taken last summer. I clearly need to pick up the pace or I’ll never get around to posting a new series of images. Here’s one from the lovely Dingle Peninsula. The tide moves so much in this area that this boat would be laying on its side in the mud six hours later. At this point in the late afternoon, though, it made for wonderfully peaceful image as it lay at anchor with the beautiful Irish countryside in the distance. Enjoy.

The Fleet at Howth

The Fleet at Howth

The fishing fleet at Howth, a harbor near Dublin

While we were in Dublin we took a day trip out to the harbor at Howth. Dublin City is set back just a bit from the coast and Howth serves as a port for the greater Dublin area. The excursion that we were on was to take a quick trip off the coast to give a bit of perspective of Ireland’s east coast. The cruise was entertaining but I had a much better time just poking around the harbor and capturing some images of the fishing fleet.

I suppose fleet is a bit of an overstatement for the fishing boats at Howth. The boats there are very similar to the ones found up and down the east coast of America. They are for the most part rugged, weathered boats that show the signs of wear and tear incurred while fishing in the Atlantic. I especially fell for the boat I’ve shown below. She was a very humble example of a fishing boat. Yet, here peeling paint and striking colors really caught my eye. Hopefully these images give some sense of the rugged beauty of Howth harbor. Enjoy.

Pride of the Fleet

A weathered but functioning fishing boat in the fleet at Howth, Ireland

South Freeport Harbor

South Freeport Harbor

A foggy morning in the harbor of South Freeport, Maine

One of my goals on the Maine trip was to visit as many harbors and lighthouses as possible. If you look at a map of Maine you will see dozens of peninsulas that extend like fingers out into the Atlantic. Virtually every town on one of those peninsulas has a harbor filled with sailboats, powerboats, and, usually, a fishing fleet.

I was a bit disappointed that on the first day of the trip heavy rain was forecast for some or all of the day. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to the rain, but the foggy, misty, overcast conditions that could happen before and after the rain could make for some great photography. So, we adjusted our schedule accordingly and planned a slow trip up the coast visiting harbors and lighthouses. The gloomy conditions could make for interesting shots.

That plan worked well here in South Freeport. The harbor itself was not as picturesque as some we saw later in the trip, but the fog added drama to these images. In addition, the wind stayed down for most of the day allowing some decent reflections to form and be captured.

Later on in the day, the rains did come. Fortunately, we were safely in our quarters in Bar Harbor when the really heavy stuff hit. By morning, the clearing had begun and we saw Maine in a completely different light. I’ll talk more about that in a future post.