For each of the years that I’ve been blogging so far, I’ve gone back at the end of the year and picked what I thought were my best images, and I thought I would do the same now for those taken in 2015. I find I really enjoy going through the year’s photos, not because I think they’re great or anything, but because it reminds me of all the trips I’ve taken and places I’ve visited. This aspect of the process means it is difficult for me to be objective and pick the best, as my choices are inevitably coloured by the experience I had when taking them. It might have been more accurate to make the title “My Best/Favourite Photos Of 2015”. Most of the photos have appeared in my blog posts already, but a few are from trips that I haven’t gotten around to blogging about yet at the time of this post. All of them were taken during the course of 2015 however.
This shot was taken back in January on a walk in the Bluestacks during a snowy spell. It was a hard won photo as I had walked for several miles through often waist deep snow to get up on to Browns Hill. One of those walks that are better to look back on than to do at the time! The view is towards Croaghnageer, which I thought looked magnificent in this weather.
Sunrise over Lough Eske in Co Donegal in February, on a hike in the Bluestack Mountains. This was before I actually started walking, as I stopped near the end on my drive there, to capture the view in one of my favourite locations. It turned out to be the best light in an otherwise overcast, wet day.
Another walk in the Bluestack Mountains in Co Donegal, this time in April. The photo was taken on the high ridge between Croaghbarnes and Meenanea, as a hail storm passed over the lonely Owendoo valley creating a rainbow.
Taken during a brilliant day’s walking in the Mourne Mountains in Co Down. This view is from Slieve Bearnagh looking towards Silent Valley.
This photo was taken in April on Lough Salt Mountain in Co Donegal, looking over Lough Salt and Lough Greenan towards the Derryveagh Mountains. I was frustrated by bad weather, and decided to go hill walking regardless. I was rewarded by dramatic skies with passing hail and rain storms, and some fantastic views.
I’d have to say this one is here because of my own memories rather than the quality of the photo, which is not the best shot you’ll see of the Aurora Borealis, but I was so thrilled to see it for the first time, in Co Donegal, that I couldn’t resist including it.
Evening light through a break in the clouds on Horn Head in Co Donegal. As is often the case, I got my reward for heading out on a day which was mainly gloomy and overcast. The walk had been hugely enjoyable anyway due to the dramatic coastal scenery, and the brief light on the cliff was an added bonus.
One of my most memorable walks in 2015 was on Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo, not least for this view over the island studded Clew Bay.
The cliffs at Sturrall Head, taken on a coastal walk from Glencolmcille, Co Donegal.
Taken on Glen Bay beach in Glencolmcille, Co Donegal, at sunset on a short trip in June. This was only 5 minutes by car from our accommodation, and I rushed to the spot when I noticed the colour in the sky from our room.
This photo is one of those where it is hard for me to be objective as my feelings are influenced by the enjoyment I had on the trip. It was taken on a long walk over the eastern MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in Co Kerry, the highest range in Ireland. This walk took in seven mountains, six of them over 900 meters high on a dramatic ridge. I loved the glimpse of the land far below through a break in the thick cloud which had until then, largely obscured everything around us.
This was one the most scenic locations that I went to all year – Port in Co Donegal. Fantastic cliffs and sea stacks.
Connemara in Co Galway is world renowned as a destination for photographers. We were just passing through on this occasion, but as the mountains caught the light in this well known view, I had to stop.
Also in Connemara on the same day, a few miles further along, and the light in the mountains encouraged me to stop again.
Our summer holiday was taken on Achill Island in Co Mayo, which was an amazing place for hill walking and photography. This photo shows the view from Slievemore mountain on a stormy morning with breaking clouds creating a patchwork of light.
A favourite location on Achill Island was Keem beach, nestled in a dramatic coastline. This photo was taken looking down on the beach from the road side on the high, steep coast.
Another Achill Island shot, taken at Golden Strand at sunset. This was just after we’d had dinner, as the beach was right beside one of our regular eating spots during our week long stay in Achill. It was a photographer’s paradise, and the camera was never far from my side.
Golden morning light on Art’s Lough as I made my way up Cloghernagh, then Lugnaquilla, in the Wicklow Mountains in September. I had been in Dublin the evening before, due a kind invitation to a Mountainviews.ie event, and I stayed overnight in the car in the midst of the mountains to get an early morning start on Lugnaquilla – the highest mountain in the province of Leinster, and one of the few mountains in Ireland over 900 meters high.
I liked the simplicity of this shot on Inch Island in Co Donegal.
Making my way to walk Truskmore in the Dartry Mountains, located in Co’s Sligo and Leitrim, I just had to stop the car for this view in the Gleniff Valley. The views from the mountain itself weren’t too bad either!
Photography is a great pastime! It motivates me to get out and visit beautiful parts of the country, often getting some strenuous exercise in the process. And afterwards, it enhances my memory of the trips. The photographs make it much easier to retain and recall every detail of each location or hike – my memory of trips taken before I started taking photographs are much murkier. I’m looking forward to more great places in 2016 already!