Dunseverick Castle, County Antrim.

Dunseverick Castle is situated in County Antrim, near the small village of Dunseverick and close to the Giant’s Causeway. From the small car park at the side of the road (where you initially view the remains of the castle), it actually doesn’t look like much until you climb over the wall (stile provided) and follow the path there to sea level (you can go down both sides of the wall).

Saint Patrick is recorded as having visited Dunseverick castle in the 5th century AD, where he baptized Olcán, a local man who later became a Bishop of Ireland. The original stone fort that occupied the position was attacked by Viking raiders in 870 AD.

In the later part of the 6th century AD, this was the seat of Fergus Mor MacEirc (Fergus the Great). Fergus was King of Dalriada and great-uncle of the High King of Ireland, Muirceartaigh (Murtagh) MacEirc. It is the AD 500 departure point from Ireland of the Lia Fail or coronation stone. Murtagh loaned it to Fergus for the latter’s coronation in western Scotland part of which Fergus had settled as his sea-kingdom expanded.

The O’Cahan family held it from circa 1000 AD to circa 1320 AD, then regained it in the mid 16th century. The castle was captured and destroyed by General Robert Munro in 1642 and his Cromwellian troops in the 1650s, and today only the ruins of the gatelodge remain. A small residential tower survived until 1978 when it eventually fell into the sea below.

It was a ‘key’ ancient site in Ireland. All photos were taken just a few days ago by me on Jan 27th 2015.

 

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One of our lesser known castles, but Dunseverick hides some truly stunning coastline behind its prominence.

 

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Like an ancient, ocean liner, encased in stone, the castle sits on top of a huge cliff.

 

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From below (at sea level) it looks much more impressive.

 

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All that remains is the ruins of the old gatehouse.

 

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Just like Mussenden Temple, its the view behind the castle ruins that really impresses however.

 

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Looking the opposite direction up the coast.

 

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I want to live in that little cottage in the distance.

 

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Dunseverick Castle January 2015. Its not hard to see why shows like Game of Thrones continually comes back to NI to film with scenery like this everywhere.

Kircubbin, County Down

Sitting on the shores of Strangford Lough, Kircubbin is a small town with a harbour sitting between Newtownards and Portaferry.

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Kircubbin, County Down.

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The old harbour at Kircubbin with a lost lobster creel. The harbour looks like its seen better days.

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On the edge of the harbour there’s this stone, I cant find anything on Google as to whether its true or not, but I doubt someone would go to the trouble of making it if not.

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The view out to sea from the harbour.

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An old antique shop on the main street. now an antique itself.

Whitehead, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Whitehead, on the opposite side of Belfast Lough to Bangor, actually used to be one of Northern Irelands premier seaside resorts in the early to mid 20th Century. In a lot of ways its hard to imagine that now but the current reinstating of the famous “Gobbins Path” along the Blackhead cliff edge here could well bring thousands more visitors to the area as in its heyday the path drew crowds from across the country.

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The path (seen above on a postcard from 1902) gradually fell into disrepair and crumbled into the ocean, and its been closed for decades now. But back in 2013 work began to rebuild it where its expected to reopen again later this year. The tubular section above was replaced a few months ago and can be seen here: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/54-ton-bridge-craned-in-to-cliffhugging-gobbins-coastal-path-near-larne-30685152.html Whitehead is the home of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland, and in the mid 1970s Sting (aka Gordon Sumner) from The Police lived here with his ex-wife Frances Tomelty, a Northern Irish actress. Its a quiet and not unattractive little town with some nice walks along the lough shore.

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The colorful houses along the promenade.

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Looking towards Whitehead from the small beach. If you look really closely to the far left you can see a steam train heading for Belfast.

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A plane descends along Belfast Lough for the city airport.

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An early Winter morning at Whitehead.

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A panoramic view of the bay.

Heres to a Happy New Year 2015

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Just a quick post to wish all a great 2015. Let’s hope it’s a year of wonderful photo opportunities and lucky snaps. I’d just like to reiterate that all the pictures on this site have been (and always will be) taken with a compact camera, which I hope will act as an encouragement for others to get out there and have a go too. Yes, we’ve all marvelled at the reams of webpages displaying those fantastic shots taken with professional and/or expensive DSLR cameras, but the technology now has advanced so much that you can get amazing pictures from something you can easily fit in your pocket.

Many may feel discouraged seeing professionally created pictures because they end up thinking they could never produce anything close to them – which just isn’t true. Just learning how to compose a photo puts you 75% of the way there to creating a stunning image, and trial and error is a great way to do this. A simple question to ask yourself when taking a picture is “would I (or anyone else) really want to look at this photo again once I take it” – if the answer seems to be yes, then maybe you’re onto something. If not, then don’t bother. For most of the pictures here the only editing done was a bit of cropping and a bit of lightening, that’s about it. I am not, or ever have been, anything more than an amateur at taking photos. I had a DSLR for some time myself, and I just couldn’t be bothered lumping it around any longer with it’s various attachments and fear of damage (most want to enjoy their travels without carting luggage). I find taking pictures much more pleasant now, and buying the best compact you can afford will improve your output vastly. By all means start off using the “intelligent” mode (the auto settings) on your camera, but advance then over time to setting your own. Many compacts now come with the ability to go totally manual if you’re up to that (with even a control ring for manual focussing on subjects). So the snobbery around the assumed necessity of carrying a huge lump of glass and metal is fading fast. Compact sensors are getting bigger and bigger, technology is getting smaller and smaller, so maybe one day all cameras will fit in your coat pocket. That would be cool.  🙂

Anyway, have a great new year, and whatever troubles 2014 dealt you I hope those died with the dawn of 2015. Things can only get better. 😀