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My Ireland

Looking for inspiration? Planning a trip? Or just want to scroll yourself happy? We'll show you an Ireland that's tailor-made for you.

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    Brian Morrison Giants Causeway, setting sun Brian Morrison Giants Causeway, setting sun

    Capturing the Causeway

    There are only a handful of truly extraordinary landscapes in the world; the places that postcards go on holiday to see. The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is one of them

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    • #NorthernIrelandEmbraceAGiantSpirit
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    star-wars-last-jedi-malin-head-county-donegal star-wars-last-jedi-malin-head-county-donegal

    It’s a sight that has been put into words many times, by many wordsmiths. “A sea of basalt blocks, black and hexagonal,” writes Jim Richardson in National Geographic, “a long step from one to the next, descending into the sea, like primal pistons thrusting out of the earth.”

    This is the Giant’s Causeway. And the moment your eyes fall on the 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns, sliding into the sea like dark stone steps into bubbling foamy waves, is a jaw-dropping one. Writers have long been drawn here, but it’s no surprise that it’s a location that also attracts artists, and especially photographers, from all over the world.

    If you’re looking to capture the visual wonderment of this landscape through the years, there are some tricks to getting it just right.

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    The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim Ⓒ Chris Hill

    Chris Hill is an award-winning landscape photographer who counts the Causeway as one of his favourite subjects. His secret for capturing that misty magic in his image above is waiting for sunset.

    “The Causeway always looks best during the last two hours of the sun. In spring and autumn, it comes in from the side and turns the columns a beautiful golden colour. If the sea is rough, it always makes for a better photo.”

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    The Giant's Causeway covered in snow, County Antrim Ⓒ Chris Hill

    But what about Ireland’s famously tempestuous skies, liable to change colour quicker than a mood ring? The pros agree that patience is not only a virtue, but also a necessity in landscape photography. 

    Luckily veteran Chris Hill has it in spades. “It's true to say I waited 30 years to take this shot,” he says of his brilliant scene of the Causeway's basalt columns capped with snow.

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    A sunset over the basalt columns, County Antrim Ⓒ Brian Morrison

    Photographer Brian Morrison is another expert who has captured the Causeway in its best light – including the incredible image at the top of this page. When he got his most recent Causeway commission, he knew it would be hard to get an angle that hadn’t been seen already. His solution was simple: to put people in the picture. 

    “I wanted to show people in exploring the stones,” he explains. “The sun was low in the sky, about an hour away from setting so I decided to go with a silhouette. This meant that I could keep the exposure of the light on the stones, while getting interesting shapes with the people in the foreground and headlands in the distance.” 

    The result is a striking new way to see the Causeway, and one that lets you imagine yourself standing there.

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    The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim Ⓒ Gareth McCormack

    Landscape photographer and author of The Mountains of Ireland, Gareth McCormack has always been drawn to landscapes, the wilder and more rugged the better. Such is his passion, Gareth runs photography courses and workshops so others can learn from his experience. Here he explains how he created this sunset silhouette:

    “This image was taken at just after 10pm a few days before midsummer,” recalls Gareth.

    “It’s amazing how long the summer evenings are at the Causeway with hours of light to work with, and because of its westerly orientation there is always beautiful modelling on the rocks.

    “I also love how the Causeway columns fill with little pools of water, reflecting the colours in the sky and adding that extra dimension to the foreground, notes Gareth. “The silhouette on the little headland is actually me! I placed my camera on a tripod and used a timer to give me time to get in position.”

    Of course, one of the biggest struggles for photographers is the fact that a place like the Causeway has been shot thousands of times before. So if you learn anything from the professionals, it should be to find your own take on things.