In our recent blog on “Getting the Most Out of a Soft Day” I mentioned that a camera would be an essential addition to any scenic stroll.
I’m now going to expand on that a bit, with some particular scenes across the Irish landscape that really come to life under that gentle mist, with a pale light illuminating their details. Of course, these popular viewpoints would make stunning photographs with a backdrop of clear blue skies and a dazzling sun, but I think the subtlety of a soft day lends something special to their beauty, especially if it can be captured in a photo.
Where’s your favourite place to snap a shot in Ireland? Tell me in the comments below!
Cliffs of Moher
According to Ireland.com the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are the most Instagrammed spot in all of Ireland, and when you see its steep ocean carved façade dramatically sweeping into the waves below – you’ll understand why.
The Cliffs of Moher make for a stunning photographic opportunity in most conditions – whether it’s the moody lighting lent to the sky amidst a storm, or the light dappled nooks and crannies of the rocks highlighted by a setting sun. However, a soft day brings its very own picturesque qualities to the wild Atlantic Way viewpoint, and there’s almost something magical in the way the light catches the mist that shrouds the top of the cliffs, as it gently falls to mingle with the sea spray below.
Speaking of magic, even the most practical amongst us would be hard pushed not to ponder the possibility of supernatural involvement when they experience the Giant’s Causeway for the first time.
Legend has it that the World Heritage site in County Antrim is the remains of a path built between Ireland and Scotland to enable a duel between two giants. The scientific explanation for the cluster of hexagonal columns rising from the sea is volcanic activity which dates back 50 million years.
However they were formed, there’s no denying that the overall effect is very easy on the eye. A soft day offers a gentle hazy filter over the sharp angles of the causeway but be careful – those smooth rocks can be slippery underfoot!
The Dark Hedges
While we’re in the North, it’s almost compulsory to stop by The Dark Hedges of County Antrim, perhaps better known to fans of “Game of Thrones” as ‘The Kingsroad’ – the highway which runs from Castle Black all the way through to King’s Landing.
While the canopy of beech trees presents a dark and foreboding journey in the popular HBO series, a soft day creates a much lighter ambience.
The sun that peers through the strong branches overhead leaves a pleasant crisscross cross pattern on a path that is bordered by banks of dewy green grass.
The gentle light rids the Hedges of that chilling darkness for which they are now infamous, yet the soft mist that plays around its edges promises a photograph that is equally atmospheric.
Connemara’s ‘savage beauty’, as described by Oscar Wilde, really comes into its own when appreciated in more stimulating atmospheres than your basic summer’s day, especially in Killary Harbour.
Running between the counties of Galway and Mayo, Killary Harbour is known as the only true fjord in Ireland – and is a beautiful sight to behold at any time of year.
With mountains rising in every direction you turn, and dolphins breaking the deep waters towards the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s not many places on earth that are more photogenic.
The rolling skies of a soft day plays on the lights and shadows of the fjord, revealing a multitude of subtle colours that shift across the landscape which would simply be drowned out in bright sunlight.
Gap of Dunloe
Over two million years ago, an ice-age swept over the landscape that we now know as Ireland, and one of its glacial movements carved through a solid mass of land, leaving a narrow yet beautiful mountain pass in its wake.
The Gap of Dunloe in Kerry is famed for its picturesque scenery, and on a clear day its five lakes act as majestic mirrors for the mountains that overshadow them on each side.
However, the slight obscurity that accompanies a soft day adds a dreamlike ‘Middle Earth’ quality to the atmosphere, so much so that you can’t help but believe that the wishing bridge (located between Coosaun Lough and Black Lake) will surely play a hand in your hearts desires as you walk over it.
Donegal is renowned for its natural beauty, as well as its unpredictable weather – so you really have to take both hand in hand when you’re venturing out.
Luckily a soft day in ‘The Forgotten County’ is just about one of the most beautiful occasions you can experience, surrounded by lush green grass and silvery blue waves with just a touch of mystery hanging in the air.
We could go on forever about the best spots to snap a photo in these conditions, but one that really stands out is the Assaranca Waterfall just outside of Ardara. The silken sheen of water flows through the thick foliage of the rock side, to bubble into the glassy pool below. While proper rain might blur your surroundings, once it tails off into a soft day you can appreciate the extra power lent to the falls – promising a more theatrical shot!
St Stephen’s Green
St Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s answer to Central Park. Just off the hustle and bustle of Grafton Street lies 22 acres of beautiful parkland to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
On warmer days the green is a hub of activity, with people picnicking, sunbathing and exercising amongst the welcome rays. You’ll find the area quieter on a soft day, with perhaps a few strollers here and there taking in their surroundings.
The lakes and fountains take on a reflective green hue under the canopy of the trees, and the collection of statues dotted around make for interesting focal points when snapping an atmospheric shot.