When we first saw Peter Cox’s images of Ireland the first word that came to mind was: dream. But then, the word dream didn’t seem to say it all, didn’t seem special enough.
So, to find the right word to describe these quite unsurpassably beautiful pictures, we retreated into Gaeilge (the Irish language). In Gaeilge, the word dream translates into ‘aisling’ (ash-ling). Yep, that was pretty enough. That fit.
So now, here for you, is a tiny selection of Peter Cox’s ‘aisling’, together with an explanation from the man himself on how he captured such a scene.
Pan’s Rock – County Antrim
The Pan’s Rock is a popular fishing spot on the North Antrim Coast, or the as it is also known. Reachable at low tide by hopping the slippery rocks, it becomes an island at high tide, and so a footbridge has been built out to it. In this view of the rock, made an hour or so after dawn, a long exposure of two minutes has been used to smooth out the movement in the water. This has also blurred the clouds which were moving briskly from the north. Rathlin Island is visible on the horizon.
Mizen Head – County Cork
is Ireland’s most southwesterly point. A fog signal was established here in 1909, and a light in 1959. In 1993, when the station was made automatic, a local cooperative in cooperation with the Commissioners of Irish Lights opened the station up to tourists. The original bridge giving access to the station had suffered badly from over a century of exposure to the severe weather in this area, and work on its replacement commenced in 2009. On March 17 2011 the new bridge re-opened, allowing visitors access to the lighthouse once more.
Lough Tay – County Wicklow
I took this from almost the same spot as my nighttime photo of , called Midnight. Taken several months previously, this image has a completely different character. I was drawn to the trees clinging to the walls of the gully. As I searched for a composition that worked, the sun rising over Djouce mountain (out of frame to the left) began to illuminate the crags of Luggala. The framing fell into place at that point, and the result is what you see here.
Fanad Head – County Donegal
is one of the more dramatic and photogenic lighthouses around the coast. Taken around midnight, I picked my way carefully along the adjacent headland by torchlight and found a good spot. The photograph was exposed for four minutes, giving plenty of movement in the clouds and some significant star trails which are visible in the clear patch above the light itself.
Inis Meaín - The Aran Islands, County Galway
is the middle of the three Aran Islands which are strung across the mouth of Galway Bay. This image was made at Poll an tSéideáin (Hole of the Blowing Spray) on the island’s west coast. Oileán na Tuí (Straw Island) is visible on the horizon to the left of frame. Poll an tSéideáin is so named because there is long but shallow cave at sea level that causes the sea to react dramatically in a swell, sending up massive curtains of spray. On this particular evening there was a five meter swell running with a fresh wind, resulting in some truly impressive seas. The cliffs here are about 30 meters high at this point yet the spray from the incoming waves are easily reaching their tops.
Gap of Dunloe – County Kerry
Made in February 2010, as the last of the snow was retreating to higher ground, this image is lit by moonlight. The stars shine brightly over on a quiet evening.