The village of Cong is where John Huston filmed “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in 1951 and it’s still living on its reputation. There’s a good shot over the stream opposite the small cottage museum. “Pat Cohan’s Bar” on the main drag was recreated in 2008 and actually looks like the one in the film.
Travelling through Connemara to Galway provides the opportunity for landscape shots, but to be honest I didn’t find it particularly striking. Sweeping views but expanses of green don’t make for dramatic images.
Galway proved unexpectedly fascinating, both from a photographic and touristic perspective. The pedestrianised Shop Street and the so-called “Latin Quarter” area that stretches down to the Spanish Arch by the river was packed with restaurants, bars, shops and people. Of course, the fact that the sun came out helped! The relatively new Galway Cathedral was huge and the interior, especially the stained glass windows, impressive – again slow exposures but plenty of handy supports to steady your hand.
Bunratty Castle just outside Limerick was the scene for an evening “Medieval Banquet”, one of three castle locations offered by the organizing company. This is a popular group option, and the costumed staff provide amiable and colourful photo opportunities. Go up onto the minstrel gallery overlooking the banqueting hall for an interesting viewpoint. I actually used bounce flash (SB800) off the high arched ceiling and had to use negative compensation as it was a bit to bright.
If you just want to photograph the castle, come during the day when you can tour it and the “Folk Park” (see next post).