Doolough ~ Birthplace of a Passion / by admin


Just before heading off in search of Doolough, Co.Mayo in October, I remember chastising myself that that I definitely MUST start updating my blog more frequently.   And here I sit over 2 months later.  I do know that there are those of you who do enjoy the blogs and seeing my images.  I know, because you've told me and I really do appreciate your interest in my work.  

Busyness is the bane of man I think.  We get too busy...too easily.  The problem is that unless we are very careful, the things we love are often the things that go first.  Sadly, I'm not one of those people who is fortunate to actually do what they love for a living.  My passion for photography at times has to take a back seat to the incorrectly named "necessities" of life.  I would feel most blessed indeed if I could pursue my photography full time but until those days come (if ever) I must juggle.


So, finally I get to share with you some of my images from our trip to the West Coast of Ireland.  Rosemary (Bonnie our little Cairn Terrier) and myself spent 5 fabulous days and nights there with an ample supply of curiosity for the daytime and a shed full of dry wood for the windy evenings in front of the fire.  It was a perfect little getaway.


I had visited Galway, Sligo, Mayo and Connemara 11 years ago and was captivated by its beauty.  Sadly, I didn't really have any decent photographic equipment with me and its been on my to-do list to return again to this beautiful area.


We managed to get a beautifully located cottage on the outskirts of Louisburgh and just started to explore.   About 10 minutes drive from our cottage, I found this old abandoned cottage at Tawnmackan.  It just oozed character.  I'm sure that it could have told us many stories about the people who used to live in it.



Fine Art Irish Landscape - Derelict Cottage, Tawnmackan, Co.Mayo - Geoff McGrath Photography




Back in 2003, I'd taken 1 particular photograph that I particularly loved but had no idea where it had been.   Time and time again I had longed to return to that place and photograph it properly.  Back then, it sparked in me and increasingly insatiable hunger to connect with the land...  I don't know if you are like me, but so often I just find myself stopping and drinking in the beauty of this incredible country that I have been privileged to live in.


Continuing on the R335, I couldn't believe our luck when within another 25 mins of driving around, I found that special place.  After all this time, it was even more beautiful than I had remembered it.  The sight was breathtaking.  I had come full circle.  I was back at the place where my passion for the landscapes of Ireland had begun.   The Doolough Valley.


Fine Art Irish Landscapes, A Cloudy Upper Doolough Valley, Co. Mayo, Black & White, Geoff McGrath Photography



Over the next few days, we returned every day, at different times just to see exactly how the light was falling.



Fine Art Irish Landscapes, A Cloudy Upper Doolough Valley, Co. Mayo, Black & White, Geoff McGrath Photography



This second shot of the Doolough Valley was taken at the location of a monument to the many who had died during the Potato Famine.  I found it a very moving story and felt guilty that I was only knowing this now, given that this place of beauty had been in my mind for so long.  It was a very quiet and tranquil place.  I found it very moving as I recounted the tragedy that had taken place here, how hundreds had fallen to their deaths trudging the high mountain path into the lough below, all because of the greed and intransigence of wealthy men.


However, I chose not to include the monument in my shots as I wanted to record it in its most natural form.  Of course, the road was something that I could not ignore due to the fact that it ran all the way through the valley.


It's strange that a place of such sadness and death ended up being the birthplace of my passion for Irish landscapes.



Fine Art Irish Landscapes, Upper Doolough Valley, Co. Mayo, Black & White, Geoff McGrath Photography



Further down the Doolough Valley I found another place to stop.  Just behind where I took this shot, there was a little dock and a boat tied.



Fine Art Irish Landscape, Upper Doolough Valley, Co. Mayo, Geoff McGrath Photography

If you would like to see more images from this beautiful area, please click here or select West Coast of Ireland from the Republic of Ireland Section of my website.