Top 12 Pictures of Ireland 2014

Good Afternoon!

As its the final day of 2014, we've put together 12 of our favourite pictures of the year. Presented to you in no particular order, they are as follows:

This is the Dark Hedges in County Antrim by Reuben Fields. You may recognise the location from Game of Thrones as the road to Kings Landing. I really like the warmth of this shot. Reuben has captured the scene in perfect golden light.

Secondly, we feature a beautiful black and white shot by Mike Brown at Inchydoney beach in West Cork. He has captured a local sulky racer training his horse before the next race meeting. There is a great sense of motion and movement as the horse gallops across the frame along with its driver hitched to the back. There is even a small wake behind the wheels of the sulky cart as they race through puddles. A  simple yet graceful composition by Mike Brown.

Our next favourite is a beautiful autumn scene in Ards Forest, County Donegal by Trevor Cole. Rust-red leaves dust the forest landscape and amber sunlight seeps in through the trees. Trevor has captured a very mysterious and atmospheric scene in the woods.

Next we feature a dramatic black and white image by Bryan Hanna of the lighthouse in Howth harbour. Bryan's long exposure technique has smoothed out the the movement in the water and highlights the clouds blowing east towards the Irish Sea. A darkness in the sky hints at the possibility of rain. I love this location. Howth is one of my favourite spots to go for a walk which is why this is a personal favourite.

Next is a beautiful shot of Mount Errigal in Donegal by Gareth McCormack. Taken late on a frosty afternoon in January, Gareth captures the mountain in all its magnificence and glory.  The calm conditions allow for the reflection of a  mirror image of Mount Errigal onto Dunlewy Lough. This is a wonderful vibrant account of an iconic location in Ireland. 

 Another of our favourites is an incredible image by Stephen Wallace called 'Bearnagh Moonrise' taken in County Down, Northern Ireland. This is a surreal shot in which the landscape appears vast and expansive against the pink sunset.I really like the uniqueness of this shot: from the colour to the depth and the lighting of the composition. With the strange rock formation in the foreground - you would almost think this picture was taken in some alien land!

Our next favoutire is a fantastic panoramic scene of Loughros Point to Maghera beach in County Donegal. An idyllic cottage sits nestled in the foreground. The lush green grass contrasts beautifully against the rich blues of the sea, sky and the golden sandy beach. Distant rains softens the silhouette of the mountain range across Loughros Bay. The panoramic perspective helps the viewer understand how incredible the view must be there! This is a beautiful vibrant composition.

Another of our favourites is a spectacular image by Darren McLaughlin of a beautiful Connemara pony galloping across this harsh landscape in County Galway. Its appropriate because this sturdy breed originates from this location and its these local conditions that help spawn the athleticism and strength for which its known. This picture highlights the connection between the wildness of the landscape and the influential effect it has on the evolution of native animals and wildlife such as the Connemara pony.  

Next we feature a monochrome composition of the pier at Lough Neagh in County Armagh, Northern Ireland by De-aRt Photography. Lough Neagh is the biggest lake in Ireland. An atmospheric mist lingers above the water greatly reducing visibility and adds mystery to the scene. The roped walkway extending out in the water provides excellent depth and symmetry in this image.

Here is a unique picture by Barry O'Carroll on a cold winter morning in Maynooth. A damp mist hangs on the horizon and the grass is dusted in white frost. The pink tones of the sky are amazing and the lighting conditions are just beautiful in this composition. I really like the surprising winter colours in this shot. The combination of the pink sky and frosted grass contribute to a unique atmosphere.

Another of our favourites is a simple composition of Tower Bay Beach by George Sheils. Located south of Portrane in County Dublin, it forms part of the Donabate Peninsula. George took this picture using a self-constructed Pinhole camera. The turbulence in the sea is evident in this beautiful crisp long exposure. I like the contrast provided by the jagged edged rock against the smooth background and water. There are so many tones and shades to this composition with minimal colour clipping.

Finally we feature a sensational photo by Trevor Cole of a rainbow and graveyard in Dunfanaghy, County Donegal. The luminous rainbow adds a spectacular burst of colour to the image. As any photographer knows, capturing a rainbow is an elusive task. Trevor has done a great job at providing context to this rare sighting. There is much character to the weathered gravestones at this exposed location and the rainbow as a backdrop makes this a special capture. 

So there you have it, our top 12 photos of 2014. Wishing you and yours a very happy and prosperous New Year!

- Mark Sheils

Founder, Picture Ireland