Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: Ireland – Cork, Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way with Chris Roche

Ireland Wild Atlandic Way

Ireland – Cork, Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way with Chris Roche

Highlights include…

  • Stunning Atlantic Coastline
  • South Westerly tip of Ireland
  • Beehive Huts
  • Stone Forts
  • Killarney National Park
  • Abundant birdlife, seals & dolphins.
  • Dramatic mountain passes
  • Dingle Peninsula
  • Colourful villages
  • Miles of protected sand dunes
  • Enchanting Hotels

Introduction

The Wild Atlantic Way, is one of the longest defined coastal routes in the world. We will focus on the dramatic remote Southwest part including the picturesque town of Kinsale, County Cork and Kerry in the south. Our journey from start to finish unfolds the wonders of nature, the power of the ocean and its imprint on the west coast of Ireland. Enchanting villages are nestled along the coast as well as ancient monuments – their origins having long sunk into the mists of oblivion dot the landscape. Behind every bend on this magical coastal road a new delight awaits.

With untameable tides and storms there has been a constant meeting of water and land, a deeply indented and wild terrain with towering cliffs, spellbinding bays and beaches, mystical islands, always changing and never reaching the end. The isolation of living near and with the Atlantic on the doorstep has ensured that old traditions and the Irish language have been preserved. Our photographic journey will also be an encounter with the past.

Your Photographic Guide

Christopher Roche was born in Quebec, Canada to Irish parents. He has since lived in Africa and several cities around Europe. Dividing his time between working as a filmmaker and a photographer he is now based in London. He has won many awards internationally and his photographs have been published in international journals, exhibited at Royal Geographical Society in London and at United Nations Office at Geneva.

In addition to receiving many international photographic awards Chris has published two photographic books, ‘The Priests and Pilgrims of Ethiopia‘ and ‘Banaras, Holy City’.
To find out more about Chris visit his website…

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Meet in Kinsale.

Today you will be picked up at Cork International Airport and transferred to our hotel in Kinsale only 20 minutes away.

Kinsale is located at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way and is famous for its colourful houses, bustling streets and rich history. One of the oldest towns in Ireland, Kinsale has been a centre for trade and fishing for centuries. The famous ‘Battle of Kinsale’ in 1601 saw the English defeat the Irish and their Spanish allies. This was a turning point in Irish history and Kinsale remained a garrison town for hundreds of years, leaving a legacy of forts, Georgian and Victorian architecture. The town has now become a foodies’ paradise and hosts an annual Gourmet Festival.
Hotel Kinsale (D)

Day 2,3: West Cork

Over the next two days we will make our way along the Wild Atlantic Way to the most south westerly tip of Ireland – Mizen Head. Nature sets the pace in this beautiful corner of Ireland – one moment wild and windy, the next serene. Empty white sand beaches, craggy cliffs, picturesque towns, ruined castles, endless inlets and hidden coves punctuate the coastline. The Gulf Stream ensures a mild climate and a unique area of flora and sea life.

We will be based in Baltimore, a pretty town which looks out across the dramatic Roaring Water Bay and its Carbery’s Hundred Isles. Baltimore, once the haunt of pirates is now a bustling harbour of fishing vessels and sailing boats. The entire area is considered as a Special Area of Conservation, which protects the unique terrestrial and sea life that includes dolphins and whales.

Highlights will include Toe Head and its Napoleonic Signal Tower. This remote area boasts dramatic cliffs and remarkable rock formations.

We will wander around Lough Hyne which is connected to the ocean by a narrow tidal channel resulting in a unique habitat for marine plants and animals. The Lake was declared the first marine nature reserve in Europe in 1981. The remains of Cloghan Castle can be seen on the small island in the middle of the lake and the neigbouring Knockourmah Hill and woods offer wonderful vistas and further photographic opportunities.

We will explore the bustling fishing port of Baltimore and head up to the Beacon for sunset. The locals call the whitewashed tower Lot’s Wife after the biblical figure that was solidified into a pillar of salt. From here there are stunning views across Sherkin Island and Cape Clear out into the Atlantic.

On our second day we will drive from Baltimore to Mizen Head, exploring Roaring Water Bay, the back lanes and waterfronts, the colourful village of Schull and Crookhaven which has a truly end of the world feel. Along the way we will get views of the famous Fastnet Lighthouse on the horizon. Heading around BarleyCove we will visit the lighthouse at Mizen Head – the south western point of Ireland.

Finally we will travel to Three Castle Head. Founded in 1207, Dunlough is one of the oldest Norman castles in Ireland and with its three towers connected by a rampart wall, it lies dramatically located along the peninsula, commanding views in all directions.
Hotel Baltimore (B,D)

Day 4: Healey Pass to Kerry

This morning we rise early and take the ferry from Baltimore to the isolated Sherkin Island to enjoy photographing the flora and fauna whilst meandering the quiet lanes free from cars and the gorgeous empty beaches.

We then leave Baltimore and travel north, stopping off to visit Garnish Island in Bantry Bay. Here we can photograph a large colony of seals sunning themselves on the rocks as we boat out to the island and it world renowned gardens. The magical gardens contain many rare plants and wonderful walks that offer great viewpoints.

Crossing the Healey Pass we leave Cork and head into Country Kerry. This is perhaps the most dramatic road in Ireland (the other contender we will visit in a couple of days!). The high pass and mountain landscape offers great panoramic photography.
Our first stop in Kerry will be Lauragh Forest, a world you could imagine inhabited by fairies with its waterfalls running between moss covered trees.

We then head into lively Kenmare which will be our base for the night.
Hotel Kenmare (B,D)

Day 5,6,7: The Dingle Peninsula

This morning we will explore the Killarney National Park before heading on to the Dingle Peninsula. Crossing through the mountain pass of Moll’s Gap we will get great views of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains. The Killarney National Park offers many walks and photographic opportunities with its 140 species of wild birds and red stags, numerous lakes, woodlands and Ross Castle.

After lunch we will make our way to The Dingle Peninsula – one of the most dramatic areas in the whole of Ireland. National Geographic described it as ‘The most beautiful place on earth’. The peninsula is dominated by the rage of mountains that form its spine, with Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest peak looking out across the Atlantic Ocean. Gaelic is commonly spoken by the locals here and life moves at a leisurely pace. The peninsula has long been a beacon for artists and musicians with traditional music often played in the pubs. For those who love history there is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments and because of the the peninsula’s remote location there is a remarkable preservation of over 2000 monuments, ranging from the famous Ogham Stones, Neolithic tombs, ring forts and Beehive Huts.

Our first stop will be the 4 mile Inch Beach before settling into Dingle. For the remainder of the day we can enjoy this vibrant town, practice our street photography, capturing images of the colourful doorways, pubs and local characters.

The following morning we rise early to spend the day exploring the peninsula itself. We will discover quiet, hidden coves and beaches, colourful hamlets, the dramatic Slea Head and Dunquin Pier which featured in the climax of David Lean’s film Ryan’s Daughter. The coast offers spectacular views out to the Blasket Islands which were inhabited until the 1950s. We will stop off at the village of Ballyferriter, Smerwick Harbour and the magical Brandon Creek where according to legend Saint Brandon set sail westward in the 6th century and traveled across the Atlantic – a voyage replicated by Tim Severin in 1976.

On our final day we will head over the Conor Pass – one of the highest in Ireland to the north side of the Dingle Peninsula. The views from the pass are breathtaking with a glaciated landscape of mountains, corrie lakes and a broad sweeping valley spread out below.

Here we will explore the Tombolo of Maharees, a special area of conservation and home to tens of thousands of nesting birds each summer, including Storm Petrels, shearwaters, terns, gulls and auks, including the colourful Puffin.
The end of the road brings us to the small fishing village of Brandon.

We return to Dingle Town in the evening for a review of our photographs and a dinner in one of the local pubs.
Hotel Dingle (B,D)

Day 8: Homeward Travel

Transfers are arranged for departure at Kerry Airport, Tralee. Shannon Airport is also a possible departure point.
(B)

What’s Included

  • Airport transfers
  • Breakfast and dinner

What’s not Included

  • Lunches
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • International flights/ferries
  • Anything not mentioned above