By Jaime Collins
Photography has always been a passion of mine, whether it was taking an image with my phone or gazing at the work of others – I’ve always adored it. It wasn’t until Easter 2015, however, that I made the bold decision to buy my first ‘proper’ camera. And ever since I have been searching for the best scenes Northern Ireland has to over.
Listed below are five of my favourites:
1. Mourne Mountains
Shortly after buying my camera I was quickly drawn to the Mournes for its epic vistas and dramatic conditions. Whether its snow on the summits, inversions in the valleys or golden sunsets, this place has it all! And it is the only location which I have found that can be photographed in every season.
But it is not just the scenes the attract me to this beautiful mountain range. It is the satisfaction you feel after hiking several hours to return home with a photograph that many others wouldn’t dare attempt. Sure, you could go to Dunluce Castle and take a gorgeous photograph mere meters from your car. But in the Mournes, you have to earn your images! This, along with the silence and solitude offered here, makes it easily my favourite location in all of N. Ireland.
2. North Antrim Coast
Next on my list has to be the North Antrim Coast. Why? Because when the long summer evenings finally come around, there is simply no better place. Within this relatively small stretch of coast you will find the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Kinbane Head, Ballintoy, Mussenden Temple, and much more.
With that being said, summer isn’t the only time of the year that this part of N. Ireland shows off its beauty.
Between the months of October and March, if you are lucky and a little bit daring, you just might find the Northern Lights! Yes, that’s right, the Aurora Borealis. Some of my fondest memories can be found under the cover of darkness at Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway — gazing north hoping for the sky to spring into life.
With so many resources and Facebook pages dedicated to predicting the aurora it has become much easier to know when it is worth heading north with your camera.
3. Tollymore Forest
If you are looking for a walk with nature, Tollymore definitely has you covered. Nestled at the foot of the Mournes this beautiful forest is a site to behold any time of the year. Autumn, however, is when it really comes to life!
Photographers, families and tourists will come far and wide to see the leaves change colour here. On a crisp autumn morning, I can think of nothing better than heading to this gorgeous forest to hear the crunch of foliage beneath my feet and the sound of water gently rushing through the Shimna river.
But don’t be afraid to head somewhere other than the stepping stones! There are plenty of gorgeous bridges and trails worth photographing here. Shown below is the impressive Foley’s Bridge.
4. Cloughmore Stone
With so many extraordinary places in N. Ireland, it is easy to focus on the more popular ones. But nestled in the heart of Rostrevor you will find Kilbroney Forest — home to the gorgeous Cloughmore Stone.
This huge granite boulder, deposited 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, is perched almost 1,000 feet above the village of Rostrevor. What’s even better is that it is only 15 minutes from the car park — although there are plenty of trails for those that want to stretch their legs.
Just make sure to stop off at the ‘Big Stone’ for sunset.
5. The Dark Hedges
I have a serious love/hate relationship with this place. Why? Because it is very difficult to get this location all to yourself — even at sunrise.
With that being said, if you arrive here and conditions are perfect, then all that fades away and you quickly get lost in the beauty of these old beech trees.
Many thanks, Jaime!
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