How To See Ireland

Picture this. You’re looking out at one of the most beautiful scenes you’ve ever laid eyes on. Colors swirl all around the horizon. The details take your breath away. You aim your phone or camera at the view, so you can relive it long after the image has faded from your mind. You take the pic and check the results. But somehow, the photograph hasn’t quite captured the moment the way you’re seeing it live.

This is the Connor Pass in County Kerry. It’s way more spectacular in person.

Most of us have had this frustrating experience. It makes me appreciate the complexity of the human eye. We can discern subtle differences in lighting, hue, and saturation that our photo-snapping devices simply can’t match. The pictures they take often fail to reveal the depth and nuances of a subject that we can appreciate just by gazing at it.

The legendary blue sheep of County Kerry. (They come in red too.)

At least nowadays we can take as many pictures as we like (and movies too!) in the hopes that one of them will do the scene justice. Sometimes we succeed, even if mostly by luck. (Almost all the truly great photos I’ve ever seen were taken by people who get paid to take pictures.)

The Cliffs of Moher. I would imagine that billions of photos exist of this place. I mean, George and I must have taken several thousand all by ourselves.

Besides, it’s fun to keep trying. And regardless of whether the pics we amateurs take are any good, they are in any case all our own, securing moments in time that are also our own. Images that will never be exactly the same for anyone else.

The clouds just so. The shadows just so. Like castles and churches, each picture may be similar, but it is also unique.

Ireland has been particularly tough for us to capture in photos. The blue skies that provide the best background and lighting have been somewhat elusive. And the vistas are often simply too breathtaking for pictures taken by phones and compact cameras to do them justice. If you want really great photos of Ireland, buy a book of them. (There are some beautiful professional shots online too, but they’re scattered.)

The fun little waterfront town of Dingle, County Kerry.

In the end, no matter what corner of the planet you’d most like to visit, pictures can never tell the whole story. The best way to see the world, of course, is to get out there and lay eyes on it. I think that’s even more true of Ireland than most places we’ve been.

Pretty thatched homes in Adare, County Limerick.
Another shot of the Connor Pass.
On the road.
Walking along the Cliffs of Moher. Don’t get too close to the edge!
Stick to the paths, laddie.
Fashion statement in County Clare.
Dingle from a distance.
The cliffs up close.
We absolutely had to visit this pub in the little town of Doolin, County Clare.
In fact, part of the reason we stayed two nights in Doolin was to hang out at McGann’s.
McGann is an uncommon Irish last name. But it’s George’s Mom’s maiden name. (Oops, can’t use that security question anymore.)
McGann’s Pub has a long reputation for great food, incredibly warm service, and wonderful live music. We experienced all of that. (And bought their tee-shirts.)
Too close! We nearly fell over! (No, not really. We have a zoom lens.)
You go, County Limerick!
Look! A really old church! With a part that looks a bit like a castle! Where in the world could this possibly be? (Answer: pretty much anywhere in Ireland. This one happens to be in Ennis, County Clare.)
I wonder if the blue sheep are on the menu.
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  1. Vicki

    Lovely pics, lovely country! Thank you for taking me along, virtually.

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      My pleasure!

  2. John McHugh

    If you get the chance, walk up Mount Brandon on the Dingle Peninsula. Ruth and I did it in 1983 and it was worth the slog. Wear your Wellies. Ir was the first time I had seen a vertical swamp. We set out in the fog but it cleared off by the time we got to the top at 3000+ feet.

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      Sounds like a great hike. Maybe next time for us!

  3. Paula

    Love it! Makes me sentimental for the trip that Ilana and I took there. The Cliffs! So beautiful. Thanks for sharing

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      After being so popular for so many years, the Cliffs have gotten a little uppity. They now insist on being called the Cliffords.

  4. Dang

    Oh how I remember the Cliffs of Moher and the surrounding landscape of Ireland. That country is one of the most beautiful countries I had ever visited. I have wonderful memories of it. I love it for the warmth of the people as well. I took so many pictures of the places during my visit. I was playing around with my camera at the pub one day and accidentally erased all of the pictures I had. I am still pissed about it. No pictures for recollection. Seeing my frustration, my traveling friend told me that it is another reason for me to return to Ireland one day recreate more memories. And your pictures definitely bring back many wonderful memories, including driving on the left side of the road. My frustrated saying for the entire trip was, “Just one more foot wider please.” The streets were so narrow!!! Scary.

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      “I was playing around with my camera at the pub one day and accidentally erased all of the pictures…” In other words, after your 6th pint of Guinness, you had no idea what the hell you were doing.

      1. Dang

        I was stupider than that… I did it all before drinking.

  5. Juliet Brown

    I agree with Vicki, fantastic photos and thank you for taking me along too. I have to ask, what did you order at McGann’s Pub in Dublin? I remember staying in Dublin many years ago, the Irish are wonderful.

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      I had fish and chips the first night. And a few pints o’ Guinness. I don’t remember anything after that. (By the way, McGann’s pub is in Doolin, not Dublin. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially after a few pints o’ Guinness.)


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