Waterfalls of the Mournes
by Chris Trainor
If you have ever walked through a forest and heard the faint rumble of a distant waterfall, then you will agree that there is something truly magical about it. Your senses fill with the glory of nature unfolding before you. The sound of the leaves rustling in the wind or the crunch of the path underfoot. The lush greens of summer or the warm inviting orange and red hues of autumn. The forest is always welcoming.
For me, there is something so endlessly captivating about waterfalls. They are a place for reflection, a place for mediation, a place where you can come to wash your worries of the day away. Here I will list a few of my own personal favourites from the Mourne area and share with you some images I have captured from a few of many adventures.
The Cascades in Tollymore Forest Park are always a pleasure to visit. Slightly off the beaten track of the river walks but not far from the famed Game of Thrones Bridge. The Mourne area might not be known for the highest waterfalls in the country but for what they lack in height they more than make up for with character.
As you approach the falls, walk down a path flanked on one side by sheer rock and on the other by a wooden fence. When you round the corner, not only are you greeted by the overwhelming sound, but you get the most beautiful view of the falls from your own elevated platform.
Tollymore Forest Park is full of wonderful walks for all abilities and holds endless opportunities for photographers and walkers alike, from old bridges (a few less after the recent storm!) to ancient oak trees, there are hours of exploration to be had.
The waterfall under the bridge – it’s just a pleasure to photograph. The bridge frames the falls perfectly and gives a great sense of scale in the image. The river winds its way through the moss-covered rocks and makes for a very pleasing viewing experience. The bridge has such great texture and the ivy growing all over it adds such great ambiance and atmosphere.
Make sure the next time you visit Tollymore Forest Park to add The Cascades and Maria Falls to your must-see list. After a day of heavy rain is the best time to see the falls in full flow with all of the force of nature behind it. This image was taken after the recent storms that left Tollymore feeling the hit. As you can see the rock has been stripped of all the green foliage and has exposed the bare rock beneath.
Stair Falls (Kilbroney Forest Park)
Kilbroney Forest Park contains my personal favourite waterfall in the area. When it comes to character this puppy has it all! On the perfect day you get a beautiful flow of water over the stairs as it winds its way towards you through a maze of green. Its walls are covered in a thick blanket of moss with bracken ferns growing from every possible crag. At the right time of day, you get the most beautiful light from the setting sun to the west, and with the right conditions this place is pure magic!
Every time you visit a waterfall it’s different, wether you come in Summer or the height of Winter. The flow in the river changes on a daily basis – some days you get a torrent and others a trickle, but you can always be sure of an amazing experience. So next time you’re walking through a forest and in the distance you hear that rumble of a waterfall, be sure to seek it out, because only magical things await…
© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Chris Trainor