It's been a full on couple of months so last week I took a wee flight over to the beautiful West coast of Ireland for a couple of days escape. The plan was to pick up the hire car, drive to my Air B'n'B booking in a small fishing village and travel parts of the Wild Atlantic Way at a relaxed pace. As it turns out, I'd chosen a stunning isolated place to stay near the small fishing village of Kinvara, hosted by a characterful couple who generously perused over my maps and plans and made their own recommendations (thanks a million Geraldine & Noel). From there I couldn't help but dive in and make a project of it.
Over a day and a half I covered 678km, travelled through stunning scenery to Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey, joined the local oyster farmers for a morning and photographed a group of women full of life after a brisk swim in the pre-storm Atlantic. Here's some of my highlights:
North-west of Galway lies Connemara National Park and the stunning Kylemore Abbey. The weather was awful (but awakening and magical all the same). The white horse showed me the way to the Abbey which, when I arrived, was surrounded by thick mist covering the mountain behind. The sun made an evening appearance on my way home - job done.
Early morning I travelled South aiming for the Cliffs of Moher. Along the way I'd taken as many b-roads off the beaten track as possible, and seeing signs for Flaggy Shore passed a group of women clad in swim suits, battling car doors to reach for towels. This was some of the worst weather I'd seen - driving rain, strong gales and the raging sea behind them - the Atlantic they swim in every morning at 8am. I asked to take a single portrait after an enthused chat with a particular lady, and full of life and laughter she ushered over her whole group of mates. Great stuff. A reminder to live and enjoy your life eh!?
The Cliffs of Moher weren't to be seen in all honesty - what was however was crashing waves on the coastline. Taking a solo hike to get as close as possible to these waves was pretty enthralling. You feel the power of the Atlantic and it's a little test of resolve, inner will and how waterproof your gear actually is to grab a photo of them so close.
I lucked out. I wanted to photograph a local fisherman. Geraldine introduced me to the oyster farmers who were staying in the rooms above me. I asked if I could join them. They said yes and the rest is history. Thanks a million to Tom who had me along for the morning on his boat, lent me the best fishing boots, and generally showed me an amazing first-hand experience of the wild atlantic life.