There was a comment made on Twitter a few days ago in response to the wonderful Secret Britain TV programme on our wee country. The comment was that we need to market ourselves better – a comment with which I wholeheartedly agree. Since coming back this side of the Irish Sea I’ve been surprised by how underdeveloped the tourism industry is. In comparison, one of our favourite spots in the Lake District is Tarn Hows – it’s miles from anywhere, up at the top of a mountain (as Tarns, by definition are), and yet there is still a car park and ‘facilities’. Every village and coastal town worth visiting in England has coffee shops and parking and facilities. Often you have to pay for parking, but the ability to travel knowing you have somewhere to park and somewhere to eat makes it worthwhile.
What is at the same time the beauty of and the frustration of Northern Ireland’s many wonderful locations is that we don’t do tourism very well. I love the fact that I can visit an unspoilt cover, or a huge beach (such as Murlough above) and not have to pay for parking or be overwhelmed by other tourists. I hate the fact that large areas are inaccessible (how much of Lough Neagh can you get to?) and most are underdeveloped.
As an avid consumer of our coast and countryside I would love to see it consumed my more of our local population and visited by more UK visitors as well as those from beyond our isles. What would be nicer than to have car parks with cafes and helpful staff at all our major attractions?
But before we get to that we need to let people know what we have got! We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the British Isles, but we don’t let people know. I for one believe that in this case at least, pictures speak louder than words. So, the picture above is just another encouragement to discover Northern Ireland for yourself.
I’ve now finally bitten the bullet and purchased a larger format printer that will allow me to print 40cm x 30cm images from my home studio. These fit very nicely into standard frames from the likes of IKEA, or can be framed by me for delivery as a package.
If you’re interested in purchasing any of the images on this web site, or that you see on Twitter, please just get in touch.
** For a limited time only you can purchase a 40cm x 30cm framed print for £75 plus delivery at cost **
40cm x 30cm unframed prints are £75 plus delivery
30cm x 21cm unframed prints are £55 plus delivery
Both the above fit standard IKEA frames – for other frame sizes please drop me a line.
One of the very first paintings to ever make an impression on me was JMW Turner’s ‘The Fighting Temeraire‘ – It’s not a finely detailed picture, but the impression of sun and sea and smoke is all the more powerful because it is the colour, not the detail that makes the image. Once in a while you come across the real thing: a Turneresque sunset, and once in a blue moon you come across it with a camera to hand and the time to stop and snap.
So, this little snap is posted in homage to JMW’s glorious artistic interpretation of sunset over water!
After the deluge that has been the last few days it was nice to have a dry but cold day on Sunday. It was busy out – everyone had the same idea – go and take a walk while the going is good! We drove out to Lough Shore Park in Antrim to get a breath of fresh air – it was more than a breath! The water was high and the wind was higher! The waves were crashing against the wall and spraying up over anyone foolish enough to go close.
For the bevy of photographers clustered around the edge of the water it was a matter of constantly drying filters to get the shot. Snap, turn, wipe, wait, turn and repeat… but the shots were worth it!
One of the things that I love about the Northern Ireland coast is the rocky outcrops that often appear. Of course, the Giant’s Causeway is the most famous ‘rocky outcrop’, but I love the small craggy coves that are so frequently seen, particularly along the Co. Down coast.
This photo was taken just between Bangor and Ballyholme.
The last year has seen significant changes – I’ve moved from the North West of England back to Northern Ireland. The landscape has changed significantly too. I haven’t photographed the wide open spaces of the Sefton coast in over a year, but I’ve revisited many beaches and beauty spots that I haven’t seen in many years. Part of my photographic philosophy is to try and capture the look and feel of a place as we normally see it – that is, not necessarily the spectacular sunset (although if it’s there I’ll capture it), but what we would see on a day trip. What I try to do is capture this in a way that we would be happy to look at time and time again, to hang on a wall, or use as computer wallpaper – something that’s easy on the eye and restful to see. Looking back, there are several images that I’m happy to look at time and time again. I’m going to post some of my favourites here over the next few days – I hope you’ll enjoy them too.
My first trip back to Portrush in a long time came at the end of a day meandering up the north coast from Whitepark Bay to Ballintoy to Dunluce. We got to Portrush towards the end of the day and parked up by the beach with the obligatory bag of chips. East coast sunsets are soft and gentle compared to those on the west coast, but the light over the water was wonderful as we sat and ate. One of my favourite shots of the day was this one. The light was fading – so the people passing in the foreground were blurred – taking the focus off them. The light was gentle and the colours subtle and there was an air of peace about the last gasp of light before the sun set. For me, it reminds me of a moment of peace and beauty in a busy year. That memory is personal, but, I think the image represents that moment of peace at the end of a day, and Portrush is the perfect place to display it.
I know it’s not the end of the year just yet, but before the Christmas images I thought it would be nice to look back. This time last year we were still living in Southport, but already planning for the changes to come. A year on, and I’ve travelled up and down our little province, and sometimes beyond. I’ve visited places that I haven’t visited in decades and I’ve revisited some favourite spots.
One of our new favourite spots is the Ards Peninsula, and Portaferry. During the summer evenings the light there is magical, and the beaches are mostly empty – so please don’t visit, we like them that way! This photo of our trusty little car parked up by the beach sums it up for me – there’s nothing better than travelling the coast of Northern Ireland with a camera to hand and family to share the experience.
The Co. Down coast has always been one of my favourite haunts – the coastline is unspoiled and uncluttered. There are very view visitors to most of the beaches along this stretch of coast, so it’s a simple matter to find space to yourself if that’s what you want.
Driving along from Strangford towards Newcastle we passed Ballyhornan beach. It was almost empty, but not quite, but the other visitors were far enough away to allow everyone their own little stretch of coastline. I like this view over the rocks towards the distant mother and daughter walking the tideline.