Ring of Kerry/ Killarney, Bog Museum, Sneem Village: Trip Notes

From Killarney, most people do the Ring of Kerry anti-clockwise, starting in the morning.  That makes it a bit early for an Irish Coffee at the Fox Inn, but the small Bog Village Museum (owned by the same poeple) is off the car park and worth a visit.  It’s composed of a number of cottages that were owned by a thatcher, labourer, peat-cutter, etc. and the village smithy.  I used a wide lens and indirect, fill-in flash for the interiors –  the burning peat fires provided atmosphere but were at times a bit smokey!

At the far end of the “village” is a small enclosure where you can see some of the remaining Irish Bog ponies, a distinct breed that were used to help transport the cut peat.

The Ring of Kerry is famed for its landscapes, but we’re talking wide, sweeping views here, and finding good foregrounds or even middle grounds can occassionally be problematical.  I’ve done this trip in both poor and reasonably good weather, and if the rain and mist come down, you’ll get the atmosphere but find it difficult to capture those big views. On the other hand, in good weather, you’ll see panoramas which are visually striking when youre there, but can be disappointing when you look at your shots later if you don’t take care with your composition:  build in those foregrounds!  The three lakes view towards the end of the Ring as you approach Killarney is a definite winner, don’t miss it.

Sneem Village, about half way around the Ring journey, is a good place for lunch stop, and provides some excellent photo opportunities.  The striking thing from the photographer’s viewpoint is the way the houses are painted in bright, saturated colours.  Obviously this is best in bright sunlight (polarizers out!) but even when it is raining you’ll find some worthwhile images.

Back in Killarney, street images are the best way to go, no real monuments or cathedrals to shoot.  Your main problem is the old “one-side-of-the-street-in-shadow” one, but stick to the “follow the light and shoot what’s in it” maxim and you’ll be fine.  Often the brightly coloured shops look good even in shadow. Where the reflections in shop windows get too difficult, use a camera flash to shoot at an angle, you’ll be surprised how good a result you can get.

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