Category Archives: Co. Down

Slidderyford Dolmen

Ancient Engineering at Slidderyford, Co.Down

Between Dundrum and Newcastle, Co.Down is this ancient Dolmen, a strange stone structure that stands out against the skyline.

Slidderyford Dolmen

It is generally supposed that these stone structures mark burial grounds, probably from around 3000-4000 BC. Who built them, or how they were built is a mystery, it seems, but they occur all over Western Europe. Notice how the heaven top rock seems to fit into ‘sockets’ on the supporting rocks, and marvel at ancient engineering skills! To visit the Dolmen take the A2 road from Dundrum to Newcastle, and on reaching Murlough Nature Reserve turn onto Old Road, The Dolmen is on the left. Be aware though, that the tomb is sited on private land, which often is sowed out in crops, and to cross over to the monument would be trespass. It’s wise to take a medium range zoom lens if you want to photograph the Dolmen, and work from the road verge.

I visited the Dolmen on a bright afternoon, so conditions for photography were not optimal. I had to overexpose by around 2 stops to bring out some detail in the stones, which left the sky overexposed. I’d no tripod with me, so no opportunity for a series of shots for HDR processing.

The images above was made with the Fujifilm X-T2, F=180mm, f/8 @ 1/250th sec on ISO250.

Drumbo Round Tower

Between Carryduff and Lisburn, with views across Belfast and the Lagan Valley lies the hamlet of Drumbo, with its historic Round Tower, now situated the graveyard of the Drumbo Presbyterian Church.

Drumdo Round Tower, Fujifilm X-T30, F=24mm, f/13 @ 1/200th sec on ISO500

The tower is one of the oldest monastic monuments in Ireland, dating from around the early medieval period. It was around in AD1130 when records show that it was plundered by one Connor McLochlin.

Continue reading Drumbo Round Tower

The Lecale District #2

Ardglass in a Jamjar!

Why is Ardglass in a Jamjar? I’ve no idea! But I’ve heard that expression used by my late grandparents, back in the 1960’s. It was made famous by Van Morrison, the singer/sngwriter, who immortalised it in his song ‘Coney Island.’

…On and on, over the hill to Ardglass
In the jam jar, autumn sunshine, magnificent
And all shining through Stop off at Ardglass for a couple of jars of
Mussels and some potted herrings in case
We get famished before dinner…

Van Morrison
Ardglass Harbour
Continue reading The Lecale District #2

The Lecale District #1

Kilclief, Co.Down

Van Morrison (who I understand had a significant birthday yesterday) wrote a song called ‘Coney Island’ in which he mentions ‘the Lecale District.’ It’s that broad area that stretches along the Co.Down coastline between Killyleagh and Killough, and includes towns like Downpatrick, Shrigley, Strangford, and Ardglass. locale is (like Strangford and the Ards Peninsula), a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’ – so it’s no wonder that when Van Morrison made his meandering car journey through it, he would wish that it could be like this all the time!

Fujifilm X-T30, F=21mm, f/5.6 @ 1/180th sec on ISO400

One of those outstandingly beautiful areas is the little hamlet of Kilclief, perched right on the edge of ‘the Narrows’ that bottle-neck of unpredictable tidal water at the mouth of Strangford Lough. Kilclief has an old castle, (Caislean Cill Cléithe) a state supported monument, a ‘tower-house’ built around the years 1412-1441, by one John Sely, the Bishop of Down, later defrocked for living at this castle with a married woman who went by the unusual name of Lettice Savage!

Continue reading The Lecale District #1

Driftwood

Newcastle Co.Down.

The recent storm (Ellen, I think) caused flooding in the seaside town of Newcastle as the Shimna River burst through its banks. The Shimna rises in the Mournes and meanders through forested areas on the sides of the hills. Wood swept down by the torrential currents ended up in the Irish Sea and washed up on the beach.

The dark hills in the background are the Mourne Mountains of Percy French fame, sweeping musically down to the sea. I like this image because of its contrasts, its light and shade, the textures of the driftwood and the deep shadow of the hills.

Fujifilm X-T2, F=18mm, f/6.4 @ 1/125th sec on ISO800.

The driftwood is quite bright – after all, it’s been washed clean by the sea, so I exposed for the wood, which cast the mountains into deep shadow, an effect I rather liked!

Angus Rock Lighthouse

Angus Rock Lighthouse sited in the Narrows between Lecale and the Ards Peninnsula. Built as a day guide only, the light was added in 1980, and later became solar powered. It can be photographed from Kilclief, but you need a longish lens. This image was made with a 300mm Nikon lens on a Fujifilm X-T30, so probably the equivalent of approx 500mm on a full-frame/35mm camera.

The camera was supported on a monopod (My granddaughter Chloe calls it my ‘giant selfie stick’). Here’s the boring stuff: F=300mm, f/5.6 @ 1/180th sec on ISO400.

Personally, I like the ‘minimalist’ look of the image.

Floral Depth of Field

Flowers in a (Depth of) Field!

This flower is blooming along the side of the Moneyreagh Road and the traffic goes by at 69mph (or more) so even on the calmest if evenings, like this evening, these flowers sway with the tailwind of every vehicle that passes. Trying to keep them in focus on a manual focus lens was a real challenge, but I still liked the sense of perspective that the shallow depth of field gives.

On the computer screen the image almost looks three dimensional.

The Hanging Fireplace!

The Hanging Fireplace of Moneyreagh!

 

Dringing home along the Moneyreagh Road towards Ballygowan I’ve been fascinated by an old derelict dwelling near the village of Moneyreagh, at what used to be known as ‘Milligan’s Cross.’  There’s nothing special about the building, except that there’s an old second floor fireplace exposed at the side of the building.  Tonight I asked Janette to leave me off outside the old building, so that I could make some photographs of the fireplace, and its surrounds, – and then to walk the two mile journey home.  Here’s my favourite image:

Milliigans_X_05A
Fujifilm X-T30. F=21mm f/8 @ 1/125th sec on ISO100

I love the textures and colours in the walls and brick, and the contrast between the bright blue tiles and the crumbling plaster in the walls.

Continue reading The Hanging Fireplace!

Ballywalter, Co.Down

Ballywalter today for work purposes, and while I waited for an appointment time, I went down to the harbour with the Fujifilm X-T2 fitted with a Nikkor 37-70mm f/3.5 lens, and a Nikkor 100-300mm lens.   It was a strange day, windy and overcast, but with bright spots appearing through the threatening clouds.

Ballywalter Hyper-Real

First stop was to look at an old boat that I saw parked on the road down toward the slipway. Continue reading Ballywalter, Co.Down