The Mourne Mountains in Co. Down, Northern Ireland do indeed sweep down to the sea, just as the song rehearses, but for those who live to the north of them, they are invariably in shadow. The result is often just a looming darkness beyond Newcastle, but, on the right occasion the shadows lend something to the whole. On an unseasonably warm September day I found myself at Murlough Bay, watching the swimmers (yes!), and seeing the blue tinged Mournes beyond.
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 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.
No focal point – I like to take images with no definite focal point. I think in the back of my mind I’m wondering how it would look on my wall – what I mean is, sometimes what makes a great photograph, because of a great composition with a point of focus in the foreground, actually is too busy to put on a wall and view over months or years. I think that the pictures on our walls (apart from family photos) should have a timeless nature to them, something that our eyes can ‘wander’ round without being drawn time and time again to that obvious focal point. I personally find this sort of image much more restful…
One of the little known beauty spots in Northern Ireland is Portaferry! It’s tucked away at the very tip of the Ards Peninsula, not a busy place. But there’s a tranquil beauty to surrounding water and countryside. Bounded by Strangford Lough, and the Irish Sea just over the hills the light is wonderful and the sunsets can be spectacular. Taking a walk along the coastal road one evening I captured this image of the sun setting over the bend of the road. We were walking back towards the town itself at this point, but I kept looking back, watching the light, and here’s the result!