Tag Archives: Clifden

The 12 Bens

The 12 Bens mountain range as seen from the Gap Road outside of Clifden in Connemara, Ireland

Connemara by Thomas Horton

West of Galway lies a land
Scorched by the chill of northern winds
Where ancient hills stoically contemplate
Their grey reflections in dark, misty lakes

Roiling stormclouds serve as the canvas
For a monochromatic panorama
That lulls the local folk
Into an inescapable monotony
Their lilting language itself
A murmur that recalls the falling rain

The plodding passage of days
In this dreary, silent landscape
Is a hell all its own
For those accustomed
To urban bustle

But the ginger natives of this grey land
Sing bright céilí songs
Drink their lager by golden firelight
Dance reels and jigs
And tell stories of a time
When giants roamed the hillocks
And heroes sailed the roaring seas
In search of mythic monsters

Descended from hearty stock
Of shepherds and saints
These rustic people still regard
The old ways as new
Discover their future through their past
And are never bored
As long as there’s a tale to be told
A smile to take in
Or a pint to share with a friend

Children of the Gaeltacht
Sing your rowdy songs
Remind me once again
Of that night in Ballyconneely
When I was one of you
That night you turned me Irish

The Bog Road

It’s a nice moment when your kids take interest in what you do. You get to share with them the work that puts bread on the table and hopefully what it it is that gives you personal fulfillment. I had just such a moment recently during our family vacation to the West Coast of Ireland. I packed up for an evening shoot and as I was heading out the door of the B&B telling everyone where I was going and when I would be back I heard - “Can I come?”. “Sure… absolutely… If you want to”, I said.

My daughter and I headed to a magical spot outside of Clifden called the Bog Road. Around Clifden it’s the Sky Road that gets all the attention and tourists but in my opinion the Bog Road is a little piece of paradise. The scenery is superb. You have little lakes in the foreground and the Twelve Bens in the background. The road is quiet. Visit during a landscape photographer’s working hours and you’ll more than likely have the place to yourself. Not just a bit of it – the whole entire road which meanders through 10km or so of bogland! As an added bonus in the Spring you can enjoy the bouncing energy of the new Spring lambs which roam the area.

As my daughter and I were driving along the road I explained to her the elements that go into a landscape image. We discussed the quality of light and how it was changing as we drove along. We discussed what bits of the scenery would make for interesting foreground and background in a landscape image. We discussed lots of things and we were running out of time because I just wasn’t seeing a spot where all the pieces came together for me. Then my daughter saw what I didn’t. She guided me to the scene below. I asked her afterward what drew her eye to this particular spot. She said,” The bends in the foreground reeds.” I couldn’t see the forest for the trees but she saw an image in the reeds.

© Peter Carroll