Making the most out of Monaghan
by Conor Finnegan
Every County on this beautiful Island has its own personal charm. Monaghan’s is….. well it’s a little bit harder to find. But that doesn’t mean to say its not there. So I’ve two options, yap and cry about it and head off on a two hour journey to Donegal every other month. Or do my best to make the most of it. Not going to lie I’ll probably just to do both!
Rossmore Forest Park
For me, there is something truly magical about walking through a forest park in the open air. The colours, the sounds, the wildlife. You get a sense of tranquillity with natures open air, and you leave all of lifes problems behind you.
My favourite shot from Rossmore was when I was out shooting in some fog, getting used to my new Fuji XT4. The fog had all but lifted as the suns rays shinned down on the forest floor. As I was walking with my beagle, an opportunity arose straight in front of me as the light hit an open path. I quickly shooed some walkers out of my composition and had no choice but to quickly take a hand held shot. This resulted in one of my favourite shots as a photographer. (see above)
Glaslough Village has to be up there with the prettiest villages in Ireland. It is a small, quiet village with a great community and a lot of historical meaning, with the well known Castle Leslie estate entertaining huge names such as Sir Paul McCartney for their weddings.
Lough Mór is a new one to me. It’s a lake I’ve never heard of or seen a photograph. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like scrolling through Google Earth to see if I can find new unique interesting things to photograph. And the Bragan “Mountains” (they’re really more hobbit hills) is full of them, no least the amazing Lough Mor.
You may get lost 3 thousand times on the way to the lake, stopping time and time again to wait on the fallow deer to cross the road, but once you park up, you’re within 50 steps of setting up your tripod.
A small boat dock, in which theres usually 4 fishing boats tied onto, opens up a simple but affective composition. With each boat staring directly into the dock it offers a great parallel shot, partner that with a ND filter and some nice light and you’ve got yourself a banger! It may be in the middle of nowhere but I’m certainly glad I made the trip, and being not to far, I’ll shot this shot again in different conditions to see what mór (get it) the location can offer.
The deforestation actually creates some nice shots, with some loan trees now sticking out from the earth. When you wander in from the N2 side you tend to walk towards the old ruin of Castleshane Castle. No where near as grand as it yous to be, but the remains of the front of the house still stand tall for a nice wee peak, probably better seen in the winter time when theres less vegetation wrapping around the ruins.
When you find the meandering river, keep it on your right hand side. You may need to roll and tumble a few times as you walk on what feels like a Cliffs of Moher ledge to those afraid of heights like myself, but after a while of holding on for your life (it’s really not that bad), you’ll finally hear the sound of a crashing waterfall, the adrenaline starts to quickly hit.
This beautiful and unique waterfall offers a great location for shooting, especially as its not shot to death like some certain Irish waterfalls, I’m looking at yous Torc, Glenmalure and the “not so secret” waterfall in Donegal ( Though lets face it, they’re awesome for a reason ). Luckily for me, some other tog may have placed this wooden branch perfectly for me to line up my frame, and before you say “yeah, aye, sure, course you didn’t place that” I tried moving it and ended up ruining the composition haha. Maybe I just got lucky and a branch just happened to be in the right place at the right time, either way, I got my snap.
Situated between the villages of Scotstown and Ballinode, Hollywood Lake offers free and fun activities such as swimming, nature walks, a children’s playground and seating areas to enjoy a good oul picnic. Jam packed like sardines in the summer, but in the quieter times it’s a really nice tranquil place to relax and take in the view.
If you follow the nature trail round the right hand side of the lake, through a small wooded area, you’ll find a small fishing dock which opens up from the trees. My photo mightened be the best representation of this location, due to the billion reeds making the composition look messy, but none the less, it’s a decent photo. Plus, afterwards you can sit with your feet in the water and watch the sun set behind the hills in the distance. A simple location, but affective.
There are alot more locations in Co. Monaghan I am yet to shoot, such as Castle Leslie, Senator Billy Fox Park, Balyybay Wetlands, Dartrey Stately Home, Emy Lough & Lough Major. But I’ll get to them at some point and add to my collection, and maybe after all, Monaghan ain’t so bad!