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An autumn photography trip to Northern Ireland is as quaint and scenic an adventure as you could wish for. But there’s also an undercurrent of something darker here. This part of the world is a moody, evocative place that stirs the senses, not least because of the region’s difficult political past. But even as the Emerald Isle continues to emerge from the Troubles, the landscape has remained stubborn and untainted. Wind and water and stone still collide.
It’s a mercurial place that will have you gazing through your lens at life as it should be: Vivid colours as summer gives way to winter, mystical castles, sea-sculpted rock formations, and serene, green landscapes bold enough to be a backdrop for the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV series.
On this photography tour you’ll explore some of Northern Ireland’s finest sights, as we travel through County Antrim and visit magical places with equally magical names. Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce castle and Dark Hedges are all on the list. And in a setting such as this, it’s only natural that we take the time to enjoy the local whisky too. It would be rude not to!
For the majority of this tour we will focus on the coastline and landscapes of Northern Ireland. Highlights will include:
Our planned itinerary is by no means carved in stone. The order that we see most of the sights depends heavily on the weather, which can be pretty changeable in this part of the world. A bit of rain won’t stop us though - that’s what the whisky’s for. Here’s the plan:
On day one of the tour the group will meet at Londonderry airport. From there we’ll take an hour drive to our hotel, which is close to the first sight of our Northern Irish photography adventure. In the evening we will take a sunset stroll to the country’s most famous landmark, Giant’s Causeway.
This UNESCO world heritage area has been made famous by 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which rise up from the sea in what may well be the most enchanting post-eruption site in the world. Local legend has it that the columns are the remains of a causeway hewn by an ancient giant. At sunset the low light dances across the rocks, and we’ll be ready to capture the Causeway in all its glory.
We will rise early in the morning of day two, and set out while it is still before to sunrise for the Dark Hedges. One of Northern Ireland’s most popular photography spots, the Dark Hedges are an alleyway of beech trees planted over 200 years ago. The branches lean over to reach their opposite neighbours, forming a tunnel of tangled limbs that looks like something out of a fairytale. In fact, the iconic avenue was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, representing the King’s Road.
The beech trees were originally planted to impress visitors to the Georgian mansion of Gracehill House, and it’s fair to say that they now draw admirers from all over the world.
We will spend plenty of time shooting the Dark Hedges, before driving half an hour for an evening shoot on the coast at Dunluce castle. The castle is an iconic ruin sat atop a steep cliff and overlooking the Atlantic. If the weather holds, as it has been known to do in the castle’s 500-year history, it’s an enviable spot for a sunset photography session.
Day three will be characterised by some of Northern Ireland’s dramatic shorelines. As the sun rises the group will head to the rolling hills and open ocean of Murlough bay.
Nearby is Ballycastle, a small town known for its castle, quaint harbour and picturesque beaches. A little up the coast lie the ruins of Kinbane castle, which sits exposed to the open ocean and has obviously weathered hundreds of year’s worth of sea, wind and rain. It’s a monument to stubborn defiance, and we will capture it against a backdrop of (hopefully) blue skies and relentless waves.
Our next stop will be the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, an extended, and slightly wobbly, rope bridge that spans the gap between mainland and a small island offshore. After that, the group will take a stroll along the coast and attempt some long exposure shots.
Depending on the weather so far, we’ll spend the evening back at Ballycastle or have another go shooting Giant’s Causeway.
On day three our aim for the morning will be to shoot the first rays of the sun at Mussenden Temple. Mussenden manages to look both out of place and perfectly at home at the same time. We’ll find it perched on the edge of a steep cliff between Downhill and Castlerock, metres away from a sheer drop to the Atlantic 120ft below and backed by lush Northern Irish countryside.
The view up and down the coast from Mussenden is nothing short of incredible, and we’ll spend plenty of time shooting the waves as they crash against the shore in the morning light.
The afternoon and evening will be spent capturing two charming lighthouses. After Mussenden, we’ll leave our first hotel and drive towards Downings. On the way we will stop off at Stroove lighthouse, a black and white striped beacon overlooking a marvellous stretch of Irish shoreline. For our sunset shoot, the group will head to Fanad head lighthouse, which looks, for a lighthouse, pretty imperious as it stands before the crashing waves and a moody sky.
We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip.
If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.
75 days or more: 75% refund
60 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 60 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
We highly recommend that you get a travel and medical insurance. Your own domestic government medical insurance and private health scheme will not cover you whilst you are overseas.
The tour is always dependent on weather, as the Icelandic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable. Likewise, visits to ice caves are dependent on favorable conditions, and indeed the ice caves themselves are not permanent. When it comes to the Northern Lights, while they are most likely to be seen between September and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear on a given day.