Antrim Coast and Glens

If I would have to recommend one location in Ireland to visit this would probably be it. The Antrim Coast and Glens not only have the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO world heritage site, all of the northern and eastern coast offers photographic opportunities at each and every step: Cliffs made of both basalt, chalk and sandstone, sandy beaches, hidden coves and eerie castles. In addition there are the nine glens that open to the eastern coast, each with rivers, cascades and forests. 

The chalk cliffs at White Park Bay.

Canon EOS 1Ds MK3; 17-40mm/4 @ 27mm; f22; 3.2 seconds; ISO 100, polarizer; tripod

East Coast

The east coast is a difficult beast. Photographic opportunities are not served on a silver platter like on the west coast but only appear after some closer exploration. Good places to start are Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains, the Howth Peninsula north of Dublin and County Louth from Tallanstown to Clogherhead. 

Cultivated landscape near Tallanstown, County Louth.

Canon EOS 1Ds MK3; 90mm TS-E; f22; 1/4 second; ISO 100;
3 stop ND grad; tripod

South Coast

The southern counties of Wexford and Waterford present a more gentle Ireland. The coast is a mix of sandy beaches, bays, coves and cliffs. Hook Head and the Copper Coast between Dungarvan and Tramore offer the best photographic opportunities. A little inland the Comeragh Mountains are also a promising destination. 

Rock display at the Copper Coast. 

Canon EOS 1Ds MK2; 17-40mm/4 @ 40mm; f22; 6 seconds;
ISO 100; tripod

Off the Wexford coast lies the Great Saltee Island that hosts some of Ireland’s largest seabird colonies: Puffins, guillemots, gannets and others breed on the island in huge numbers. Although the island is privately owned day trippers are welcome and boats leave from Kilmore Quay daily during summer. 

Breeding Gannets on the Great Saltee. A 300mm lens is all you need to get close.

Canon EOS 5D MK2; 300mm/4 + 1.4x; f8; 1/800 second; ISO 200

Midlands

The midlands are a bit of a photographic challenge. At their worst they consist of cut away bogs and wastelands (a picture opportunity in its own right), at their best they show the cream of the Irish cliché: Green fields and hedgerows, soft, rolling hills and fertile valleys, picturesque villages (including Barak Obama’s ancestral home in Moneygall) and ancient monastic settlements. Among my personal favorites are the Glen of Aherlow, the area around Cashel, Monaincha Abbey near Nenagh and the Bog of Allen in Co. Kildare. 

The typical midlands landscape: fields and hedgerows.

Canon EOS 1Ds MK3; 70-200mm/4 @ 94mm; f22; 1/5 second; ISO 200; 2 stop ND grad; tripod

If this has made you plan a trip to Ireland feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or need to hear some more suggestions.


Carsten Krieger is a professional landscape and wildlife photographer based in the West of Ireland and author of several books on the Irish landscape and nature. To find out more about his work you can visit his website: www.carstenkrieger.com.