• Travel

    Wild Atlantic Coast

    The flight to Ireland from Germany is relatively short. On arrival, you feel as if you’ve crossed a bridge: you’re not far from the start of your journey and yet you’ve arrived somewhere else.

    Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, crossing Liffey © Julian Köpke

    People have passed through garden gates in the course of their lives, but on the Irish island they can give the impression of entering an enchanted world. Not many people visit the gardens that are offered to visitors. This may also be due to the tight schedule of guided tours.

    I walked through the gate and entered a magical forest. I soon came across a shy deer, which took off in feathery leaps as I emerged. © Julian Köpke

    We were travelling on a relaxed schedule, with a reasonable vehicle that was suitable for the terrain and our equipment. Exploratory drives and hikes alternated over the course of the day.

    The trees often showed a tendency to be overgrown, which is probably reinforced in the German observer by the fact that we have more industrial forests in our country, with straight trees, rarely with branches. In Ireland, there are families who have dedicated themselves to maintaining their park, which virtually excludes straight-grown trees.

    Derreen Garden © Julian Köpke

    Several times we came across walled gardens that had been developed into attractions. In addition to greenhouses, there were continental elements laid out with almost baroque geometry next to sections of park that appeared almost random.

    Leaving walled garden of Kylemore Abbey © Julian Köpke

    The coast in the south-west has the surprise of looking like a lakeshore for newcomers, even though the Atlantic and its tides wash around the hotel every day. There are plenty of rocks to see, lobster traps at low tide when you go for a walk. And rapidly rising water at high tide.

    Wild Atlantic Coast at Parknasilla, Kerry, Ireland © Julian Köpke

    The island’s coasts are varied, often rocky. At Kinard Beach, the sea is coloured red by the rocks that have been eroded there over millions of years. When my friend Harold and I arrived at this place, we didn’t know what to expect. There was a mixture of serenity from the sea and the erratic dynamics of the crashing waves, which turned red near the rocks due to the force of erosion.

    Rough and calm sea at Kinard Beach, Kerry, Ireland. Red rocks colour the water red. © Julian Köpke

    High cliffs play a role, but they have been converted into tourist attractions, with opening hours, entrance fees and security fences. These can make it difficult for photographers to find a good time and a good location to take pictures.

    Cliffs of Moher and seastack, Ireland © Julian Köpke

    Why is the island green? Because it rains a lot. Golden rule for visitors: if you don’t like the weather: wait 5 minutes. That’s almost sufficient.

    Seastacks at Dunquin Pier, Dingle peninsula, Ireland © Julian Köpke

    More pictures of Ireland in my Flickr album.