Bad Photos of Irish Properties For Sale

Daft.ie is Ireland’s biggest property site and it’s a valuable resource for anyone thinking of buying or renting property. You can browse through images of houses, apartments and commercial premises from all around the country, images that have been uploaded by auctioneers and estate agents.

I would love to say that the photographs have all been well-taken – properly lit, in focus and well composed – but, alas, that is not so in a frighteningly large number of cases (if a quick browse through a random sample of properties is anything to go by).

Which prompts the question: why, if you are an auctioneer/estate agent, do you not ensure that properties are presented in the best possible way so as to entice prospective buyers/renters?

It is not good enough to use a 10-year-old compact camera to fire off a few out-of-focus shots and hope for the best. Get a proper photographer to do the premises justice. He/she will know how to expose properly for even the darkest of rooms, will be able to use artificial lighting to best effect, and will compose both interior and exterior shots so that the final images will enhance and flatter. Of course, many acutioneers/estate agents do just that, as their photographs show. But as for others ….

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Badly lit and taken at a resolution totally unsuitable for uploading at this size. It may have looked OK (ish) on that cheap 2MP compact you bought 15 years ago but really, what *were* you thinking when you published this?

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Nice white van. I presume though that you meant to show the room?

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Aimed at buyers with chronic myopia, perhaps? It will look just like this in reality to them.

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Ugh. Another tiny resolution image enlarged far beyond its limits. And having a vehicle in the drive is a big no-no –  people are interested in buying the house, not the car.

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This might be a winner in a photo competition for dark, moody interiors. As a photo designed to sell a house it’s crap.

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Oh dear. This will never feature in The House Beautiful magazine. If the owner/renter couldn’t be arsed to tidy the place up before you arrived get him/her to do it before you take a photo. Or, tidy the damn place yourself. Don’t show this kind of thing to the nation.

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Did you even stop to think that maybe, just maybe, the inclusion of the ironing board might not have been the best compositional idea? Re-positioning the stools should also have been a no-brainer. Pity too about the dark spot in the foreground which the built-in flash couldn’t illuminate.

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The unmade-bed-and-untidy-room is not a good look.

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The occupiers clearly didn’t give a damn about how the place looked. Your job is to make it look somehow half-decent for the camera.

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Did you not have your rubber gloves with you to pick up the dirty towel? An essential item in any property photographer’s arsenal. There’s a lot more wrong with this shot but the towel grabs our attention.  

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Ireland’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

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Poorly lit and the toilet seats in property photos should *never* be up.

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Another out-of-focus disaster.

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This property should be of interest to those keen to investigate psychic phenomena – that bright spot on the lower right may be evidence of an apparition.

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Ah, look – Compo and Nora Batty on the telly! Tip: switch off TVs when photographing rooms.

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Cast A Giant Shadow was a good 1966 film starring Kirk Douglas and Senta Berger. This is a bad photograph.

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Not a bad self-portrait, dude. What’s it doing on a property website?

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Shower units are usually presented in the vertical position.  And is that a reflection of your hand holding the camera?

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This might have been a contender were it not for the lack of sharp focus, the uneven lighting and the blue car outside the window.

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Another photographer-in-the-picture situation.

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From the  black-hole-of-Calcutta school of property photography. Ain’t never going to be a success.

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I presume you inadvertently clicked the shutter while looking at something else.  There can be not other explanation. But why post it?

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Too many toilet rolls.

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Would it have killed you to remove the clothes from the banisters before taking the photo?

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Not a great photo but it would have been significantly improved had you removed the bucket and brush.

Sadly, these kind of photos are not uncommon on property websites. Apparently there’s a lot worse out there. A Twitter contact of mine says he saw a photo of a room with a guy sitting watching telly!  I would love to see such examples so if you come across any please drop me a line: carrigman@gmail.com.

Is It A Bird? Is It A ..?

Visitors emerging on to the N27 from Cork Airport must be puzzled by an odd-looking shrub in the centre of the roundabout.

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What is it meant to be, exactly?

Form one angle it looks like some lumbering dinosaur. But why? Is Cork such a centre of paleontology that a dinosaur needs to be represented at one of the major visitor entrances to the city? And why at the airport?

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From another angle it looks more like a large tortoise. Again, the connection with the city is not obvious. Perhaps it’s meant to say something about the slow pace of life in the city?

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If you look closely at the “head”, you will be able to see a remnant of a strip of fake windows.

I’m sure it even has many locals confused as well, especially those that are too young to remember that it was, once, a representation of … an aircraft. A rather fat and not very airworthy-looking aircraft, granted, but a recognisable flying-machine nonetheless. It even had rows of fake windows down each side.

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Sadly it has fallen into neglect and it no longer looks like anything. Now it’s just an overgrown, unkempt bush that is crying out for the loving attention of a good topiarist to restore it to its former glory. Failing that, the best thing the authorities could do is cut it down and save us all the embarrassment of having to explain to bemused visitors what it is supposed to be.

Obtaining my ARPS

In March 2012 I achieved my Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society, the LRPS.

The next distinction to be aimed for was the Associateship which, according to the RPS, requires “images of exceptional standard and a written Statement of Intent (what you hoped to achieve with the work). This is a significant step up from the LRPS. At this stage a creative ability and a personal style (what makes your work unique to you), along with complete control of the technical aspects of photography must be evident.”

The problem I faced was fixing on a subject. I do mostly landscape photography and seascapes feature a lot given my proximity to the coastline of East Cork. I considered a panel of seascapes but I wasn’t confident that I could bring a personal style to bear. Long exposures taken by the coast is a technique that I like but it can hardly be described as a personal style. I’m sure the RPS judges have seen it done far better. I needed something a bit different. But what?

Then, one afternoon last November, I was walking by the River Lee in Cork City. There was a high tide and the reflections from North Mall looked beautiful in the calm waters of the river. I had my little pocket camera with me – a Sony RX100 – and I took some pictures.

When I processed them I decided to invert the images so that they appeared the wrong way up as if you were looking at the buildings straight on rather than at reflections. They looked more like paintings than photographs. I realised then that I had an Associateship subject. I booked my place for the Distinctions sittings in Birmingham in March.

Throughout November and December and part of January I made numerous visits to the city to photograph reflections, timing my trips to coincide with the high tides. I took hundreds of exposures. I used the Sony RX100 throughout – it was far less conspicuous than one of my Canon DSLRs and was thus ideal when traversing the city. Besides, I knew its capabilities and I was confident that I could produce 15×10 prints from it without compromising on quality.

I whittled down the images to about sixty from which I would make a panel. I made individual 6×4 prints and began the hard work of deciding on the final fifteen.

This is a tortuous process. It’s not a matter of just producing fifteen good prints – they must work together as a panel which must have a logic and a coherence and which must reflect the Statement of Intent. I began by laying out fifteen prospective photos in three panels of five (I had opted for the five/five/five layout). This became a daily ritual for weeks – shuffling the 6x4s, removing some, adding others. Each time I had what I thought was a finished panel I would return to it the next day and re-arrange it once again. Eventually I arrived at a final decision – I had a panel that I was satisfied with.

I began printing 15x10s on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl paper (now discontinued) on my Epson R3000. Some prints worked first time out of the printer, others required two or more attempts before I was satisfied. This is where home-printing has a huge advantage over labs: you can keep at it until you get the results you require. I dry-mounted them on adhesive backing board and placed them in white A3 mounts.

This process was completed two weeks before the distinctions sitting date, March 3rd. In the meantime I was wracked with doubt. Was I kidding myself? Was the panel up to standard? Would the prints be eviscerated by the judges on the day? Why did I subject myself to this ordeal?

The day of decision started out well. I was on the 6:45am flight out of Cork to Birmingham, the panel in a secure and well-padded case in the hold. The flight was due to land at 8am. Shortly after the pilot began the descent however he began to fly in a holding pattern. The airport was shrouded in fog and no flights were landing. He would circle and wait for it to lift. This continued for about fifteen minutes whereupon he announced that he was diverting to Manchester as there was no sign of the fog disappearing. This was a bad omen for the rest of the day. Would I be able to get to the RPS venue at all?

When we landed in Manchester about twenty minutes later I phoned the RPS HQ and told them what happened and asked them to advise their representative in Birmingham that I hoped to get there sometime later in the morning.

I arrived at 11:50am following a two-hour coach trip from Manchester. Was I too late? Would I have to re-schedule the application to another sitting? I needn’t have worried. I was assured that they would be able to fit in my panel before lunch. After grabbing a much-needed coffee I returned to the auditorium to await my fate.

There were two panels judged before mine. There was an excellent black and white one which I came in on at the very end and which the judges praised highly. The next was a series of colour still-lifes of food which was technically very accomplished. However, the Statement of Intent by the photographer did not match the photographs and this was probably the main reason for the panel failing. (The judges had some compositional criticisms as well.) It cannot be emphasised enough: the Statement of Intent is crucial.

Next up was my panel.

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I was glad at least to see the prints were placed exactly as I had indicated in my hanging plan. One of the judges read out my Statement of Intent:

I want to show in these inverted reflections how a river is like a multi-faceted artist, by turns – realist, impressionist, and modernist, taking the mundane aspects of the city, its buildings, trees and bridges, and transforming them into a variety of shimmering, evanescent images.

It is not a pleasant experience to sit there while the judges are reviewing your work. They sit and consider the panel first from a distance of a few feet. Then they stand and review the prints close-up, taking down some of them from the stand the better to examine them in detail. They were discussing them among themselves for awhile – to me it seemed like an age – and then they sat down. This was it: the verdict. Oh God, please let this torture be over soon.

The chairperson of the judges asked one of them to comment. He stood and faced the audience. “I think this is a stunning panel” he said. He found the concept of inverted images “very clever” and had not seen it before. I could hardly believe my ears. Another judge commented on how her favourite print looked like a water-colour painting. Yet another told the audience that the prints contained a wealth of detail that would not be apparent from where they were sitting. The chairperson asked the judges to vote and then announced that I was to be recommended for the Associateship (which was formally ratified by the RPS Council on 13th March).  I stood to acknowlege the applause. It was an incredible feeling – a mixture of overwhelming relief and joy. I hardly needed an aircraft to return to Cork later that day – I think I could easily have floated home.

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Camino de Santiago: Sarria to Santiago

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Last June I wrote about my decision to walk a section of the Camino  http://carrigmanblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/preparing-for-the-camino/ and on the 19th September my plans became a reality and I flew to Santiago to spend five days walking the path.

I am well aware that this was very much a Camino-lite. Five days and 110 kms are insignificant against the full Camino de Francés which takes about thirty three days. (There are other Camino routes as well and the longest is the Via de la Plata which starts in Seville and takes about forty days).  For those real Camino veterans, those that have walked either the whole route in one go or have done considerably longer sections than the Sarria to Santiago “tourist” leg,  this account will, rightly, read very much like a dilettante’s impressions.  It is written primarily for those who may be interested in giving the Camino a go but who do not want to  commit to more than a week’s walking.  Of more interest, perhaps, will be the photographs as they (I hope) give a good idea of what the route looks like and what to expect on the way. (Left click on any photograph to see it in a larger size.)  At the end of the article is a section I’ve entitled “Practicalities” – a list of items that I brought with me as well as a day-by-day itinerary.    

First thing to do before setting off was to get my Pilgrim Passport – my credencial -  stamped at the reception desk of the B&B I stayed at in Sarria.  Anyone doing the last 100 kms needs two stamps per day in order to qualify for a compostela -  a certificate of completion of the pilgrimage – at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago.  Anywhere you stay will stamp the passport as will churches, bars and restaurants along the way.

The accommodation I had booked in Sarria was ideally placed for commencing the Camino.  I walked out the door, took the next left and there was a yellow arrow pointing the way. The yellow arrow, like the scallop shell symbol, is a distinguishing mark of the Camino and, on the section I walked at least, meant that it is practically impossible to lose your way. At no point on the trek had I to ask myself – ” which way now?”.  In any event, all you needed to do was to follow other walkers. The Sarria to Santiago section is the most popular one and for nearly the entire route there were walkers within 200 yards or so of me at all times.

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Heading out of Sarria on a foggy morning

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110 kms to go! These  concrete waypoints as well as the ubiquitous yellow arrows guide the way

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After leaving Sarria the path wound through some woodland and then climbed into open farmland. There was a heady smell of pig manure from the fields.  The smell of manure and cow dung was prevalent  through long sections of the Camino as to be expected in an agricultural area.  It’s not exactly Chanel No 5 but it’s a healthy rural aroma nonetheless.

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Walking though the farmland in the early morning fog lent the scene an appropriate mystical feel and I was  reminded of the lines “For you are driving your horses through/The mist where Genesis begins” from Patrick Kavanagh’s “To The Man After The Harrow”.

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“The mist where Genesis begins”

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A soft-drink dispensing machine in unlikely juxtaposition with a farm building. 

As the morning wore on the sun burned off the fog and the full vista of the countryside was revealed.

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The path often went through little hamlets and farmyards:

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Cows have right of way

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This photo of cyclists reminds me to advise walkers to leave their iPods at home. Cyclists tend to whizz by every now and then and, especially on narrow sections, can be dangerous if you are unable to hear them approaching from behind. In any case, wearing an iPod is undesirable as you cut yourself off from the sounds of the countryside – the birdsong, the lowing of the cattle, the “cock-a doodle-dos” of the cockerels in the early morning – as well as impeding human contact which is an essential part of the Camino experience.

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 A walker feeding a horse an apple. Apples were in season and very plentiful.

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The first time I saw one of these structures – practically every farm had one – I was intrigued. What was its function?  The cross suggested some religious significance. Was it a shrine? If so, why was it bricked-up? Was it some kind of tomb perhaps? Used they bury bodies inside them? The truth turned out to be far more prosaic – it’s a corn-crib used for ripening husks of corn.

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Taking a break in the midday sun at one of the many cafés that dot the Camino. There is no need to take food or drink provisions in your rucksack. Apart from saving weight, stopping off at a café is a sociable event.

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Some short sections involve walking on open road, mostly minor roads with little or no traffic and occasionally you have to cross a busy main highway (the N-540).

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A punnet of delicious raspberries purchased from an honour stall – you take the item and leave the money in the box provided.

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Arrows point the way.

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My shadow in the early morning sunshine. I started out each day at 8 o’clock at the latest and walked for about 6 to 7 hours. It became very hot in the middle of the day and so walking for longer was impractical. The earliest I set out was at 6:45 am  on the last day into Santiago. It was dark and the moon and the stars shone. The route was through woodland and I had to use my head-torch for illumination.  It was balmy and the only sound was the crickets chirping in the undergrowth. Ahead of me, like fireflies, were other walkers shining their lights.  I passed two Spanish girls who had a tiny torch that gave very little light whereas my Petzl emitted a fine beam that lit up the path.  As I passed the girls one of them said – “Gracias por la luz!” I’m sorry I didn’t do more very early starts.  Walking from the darkness into light seems appropriately symbolic for the Camino as well as being a practical way of avoiding the hard slog of the hot afternoons.

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The bridge at Portomarin

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Walkers taking a rest by a refreshing stream 

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The Camino wends its way through beautiful countryside

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People leave their mark 

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Pulpo

At Melide, halfway between Sarria and Santiago is an obligatory stop-off point: Pulperia Ezequiel on the Main Street. It serves delicious pulpo (boiled octopus served with olive oil and paprika) which is reputedly the best in Galicia and, perhaps, in the whole of Spain. The place was teeming with walkers seated at the long communal wooden benches when I arrived there about 11am on Sunday.  Behind the counter where you order your pulpo is a large pot of boiling water in which the octopus is cooked overseen by a man with tattoos of tentacles on his arms. It is served on a wooden platter and, with good bread and a bottle of beer or a jug of wine, it is one of the finest meals you can have.  

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A memorial at O Pedrouzo to Myra Brennan of Kilkenny and Sligo who died in Santiago in 2003 after completing her second consecutive Camino

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Dawn light through the trees near Santiago on the last day of the walk

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On the outskirts of Santiago

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The open countryside has been left behind and the route goes through more built-up areas  

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A monument marking the visit of Pope John Paul 11 on the top of Monte de Gozo just outside Santiago

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Myself in typical dorky tourist pose by the John Paul 11 monument 

The end of the road: Santiago

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A constant stream of walkers ending their Camino enter Santiago every day

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People congratulate each other on completion and bid farewell, It can be a very emotional experience.   

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This young man did his Camino barefoot and his feet seemed perfectly fine. I heard him explaining to a couple of girls that he lost one of his shoes early on the route and as he couldn’t walk with just one, and as it was not possible to buy another pair, he simply went without any.

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Pilgrims queue up to get their compostelas (certificates of completion) at the Pilgrims Office. You have to present your stamped credencial (pilgrim passport) and you complete a register indicating your name, age, nationality, where you began your camino and whether you did it with a religious or a non-religious motivation.  There are separate compostelas depending on your answer to the latter.

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The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the terminus point of all the Caminos.  Every day at noon there is a mass for pilgrims and it is full to overflowing during the busy walking season. People of all religions and none attend as it is a fitting ritual to mark the completion of the walk. Occasionally, you may be lucky (as I was) to  witness the Botafumeiro (“smoke expeller” in Galician) being swung. It is a large censer – an incense holder –  suspended  from the roof of the cathedral by pulleys. Eight red-robed tiraboleiros pull the ropes producing increasingly large oscillations of the censer. It swings to and fro almost reaching the ceiling all the while emitting thick clouds of incense.

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Preparing the censer 

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The censer swinging across the transept of the cathedral  

My five days walking the Camino was a wonderful experience but it was too short.  When I reached Santiago I wished I had at least another week to go.  Like most other people who have tried the Camino, I want to go back again.  Next year I may do another section perhaps starting from St  Jean Pied de Port in France and go over the Pyrenees into Spain.  Or maybe the Via de la Plata from Seville to Cáceres.  Health and opportunity permitting  I can see myself tramping my way along some section or other of the Camino for several years to come.

 

Practicalities

What I brought with me:

1. Two Craghopper trousers (one with removable lower legs to turn them into shorts)
2. Merrell Walking Shoes (purchased several months ago and well worn-in)
3. Two Tilley briefs
4. Two pairs of Tilley socks
5. Tilley hemp hat
6. Fleece jacket
7. Four tee-shirts (could have got by with two)
8. Lightweight canvas shoes (for relaxing in after a day’s walk)
9. iPod (did not use)
10. Platypus hydration bag (used once)
11. Pocket towel (did not use)
12. Sleeping bag liner (did not use)
13. Lightweight rain jacket (did not use)
14. Two-metre length of string and a few clothes pegs for drying clothes
15. Phone/camera charger and socket adapter
16. Spare 16GB memory card and spare battery for camera (spare battery was not required)
17. Sony RX100 compact camera with 16GB memory card
18. Phone
19. Mini-tripod (pocketable) for camera (did not use)
20. Pilgrim Passport
21. Small cheap notebook and biro
22. Relevant pages ripped from John Brierley’s book “A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago”
23. Razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, “King of Shaves” mini-bottle of shaving oil
24. Compeed blister plasters (did not use but still a vital piece of kit)
25. Factor 30 sun-screen
26. Biofreeze pain-relieving roll-on treatment (did not use)
27. Boarding passes/passport/money/keys
28. Petzl head-torch
29. Six large (10 inches x 10 inches) zip-lock bags for storing some of the above items

30. Kindle

The trick to carrying a minimum of clothes is to use the “wash one, wear one” principle. Tilley clothing is ideal for this as their products are quick drying and washed and hung out at night they will normally be dry in the morning.

I used a Berghaus “Freeflow 30+6” rucksack (36 litre capacity) to house the above. It proved a very comfortable fit and was very easy to carry. The total packed weight was 7.4 kgs.  If your bag weighs more than 10 kgs you need to seriously examine what you are carrying.  I am also assured by people who have done the full 30+ days Camino that a 30-40 litre rucksack is perfectly adequate.

I did not carry water. On the first day I filled the Platypus with 1.5 litres of water but I felt it added significantly to the weight so I ditched the contents. There is no shortage of cafes on the route and it’s pleasant and sociable to stop and buy water and drink it on the premises.  It all depends on your personal preference of course: some people like to have water available at all times.

I did not use walking poles. I had considered bringing them (I use them for hill-walking at home) but I decided against it and I’m glad I did. I think they would, for me, have been more of a nuisance than a help.

I did not use the iPod. Apart from the undesirability of insulating yourself from the sounds of the countryside and the interaction with other people there is a very real practical reason why you shouldn’t use one: cyclists. Cyclists tend to whizz by in groups of four or five and, on a narrow path, you would probably not hear the faint tinkling of their bells as they approach – those that have bells fitted to their bikes in the first place, that is (few of them do).

My itinerary

I did not go through a travel agency when planning the trip. I booked the flights online as well as the accommodation along the way (primarily via TripAdvisor and LateRooms.com).  There is no need to book accommodation if you plan on using the alburgues – the pilgrims’ hostels – which are widely available. I made a conscious decision to avoid them. I appreciate that by so doing I missed out on an important Camino experience but I am a light sleeper and I did not want to be disturbed by the comings and goings of people at all hours of the night during the busiest section of the Camino when the alburgues would be busier than at any other part of the route.

I flew from Dublin to Santiago with Aer Lingus on Thursday 19th September. I got a bus from Santiago airport to Lugo (about 2 hours) and another bus from Lugo to Sarria (30 minutes).

Friday 20th Sep:                  Sarria to Portomarin                      23kms     About 6 hours

Saturday 21st Sep:              Portomarin to Palas de Rei           22kms   About 6 hours

Sunday 22nd Sep:               Palas de Rei to Arzua                     28kms     About 7 hours

Monday 23rd Sep:               Arzua to Amenal                             23kms     About 6 hours

Tuesday 24th Sep:              Amenal to Santiago                        14kms    About 4 hours

I flew back to Dublin on Thursday 26th.

Mine Head Lighthouse

Mine Head Lighthouse in West Waterford is somewhat off the beaten track. To get there you have to negotiate a warren of by-roads in the Old Parish area and I would have given up had I not had the co-ordinates programmed in to my Sat Nav, co-ordinates which I had obtained by studying the location on Google Earth. The road ends at the entrance to a farm and from there to the lighthouse there is a driveable path of about a mile or so. I wasn’t entirely sure whether I should have sought permission to proceed at the farmhouse. On the basis that it is easier to seek forgiveness than permission I kept going and I didn’t meet anyone throughout my time there.

It is a wonderful looking lighthouse perched on a cliff-top with views across the coast of Waterford as far as Brownstown Head near Dunmore East. The white pillars near the Metal Man at Tramore were clearly visible in the late evening light. Looking west you can see Ram Head in Ardmore and beyond that Ballycotton Island in East Cork.

(Left-click to see images in larges size)

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The lighthouse looked resplendent in the Autumn sunshine and I was eagerly looking forward to sunset when the sensors or timers would activate the light and the lighthouse would do what it is meant to do: emit flashes at regular intervals. With a bright waxing-gibbous moon, a calm sea and little wind all the conditions were right for some stunning blue-hour lighthouse photography.

So, I waited and waited. Eventually, the sun set. Off to the south-east, Hook Head Lighthouse began to flash, its light just visible over the horizon. It wouldn’t be long now before Mine Head started to do its thing. I could hardly wait. It might be a long time again before I’d get conditions as good as this and I was going to make the most of the opportunity.

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Mine Head Lighthouse photographed from Ram Head, Ardmore 

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The light of Mine Head photographed from Ardmore 

I looked through the viewfinder anticipating that first magnificent flash. And then … a tiny little light, about the size of those halogen units you can buy in hardware stores, clamped on to the railing at the top of the tower started to flash. What the f….? Was this it? It was. I stood up and, John McEnroe-like, addressed the lighthouse in a loud voice – “ You. Cannot. Be. Serious.” I had waited a couple of hours for this piddling little light? Alas, I had. And with it went my expectations of capturing some great images of the lighthouse in full blaze and the light of the moon on the sea.

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The lamp that currently serves as Mine Head Lighthouse’s light clamped to the railings of the tower

The magnificent light built into the lighthouse itself is no longer operational and instead this puny latched-on lamp does the job instead. No doubt it serves the purpose but what a disappointment it is! What an insult to the men who manned the lighthouse down the years and who kept the fresnel lens of the light in optimum condition the better to signal to passing mariners. The beautiful tower built in 1851 might as well be knocked down if this is going to be its fate. The Commissioners of Irish Lights could just as easily erect a thin steel pole on the spot and clamp the light on top of it.

So, having waited for the amazing images that were never to be I packed up and went home.

What a disappointment!

Waterville Beach Hotel

Two miles north-west of Waterville, County Kerry lies the ruins of the Waterville Beach Hotel (a.k.a. the Reenroe Hotel).

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It was built in the 1970s and closed in the mid-1980s.  On the face of it the closure is difficult to understand – it is situated overlooking the beautiful Ballinskelligs Beach but even that was clearly not sufficient to attract enough customers on an ongoing basis to make it profitable.

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Ballinskelligs Beach

The elements have since taken their toll and the place is now a crumbling ruin.

In the early 2000s, Eccleston International Ltd made plans to demolish the old hotel and build a 13,000 sq ft, 120 bedroom hotel on the site.  The proposal had the backing of the local community who looked forward to the employment that would be created. There was however a single objection from a couple – Eugene and Anne McMahon – who are resident in Canada but who have a holiday home in the area. An Bord Pleanála upheld the objection. That objection was in turn overturned by An Bord Pleanála at the end of 2007 and the green light was given for the development to go ahead.  However, the economic climate had changed dramatically in the meantime and nothing happened. The planning permission has since expired and the site is now for sale with an asking price of €150,000.

I had never heard of the place until I read Susan Cloonan’s blogpost:  http://queenofpots.com/blog/2013/08/25/abandoned-waterville-beach-reenroe-hotel/

My interest piqued, I travelled to West Kerry yesterday to photograph the ruin. There is easy access to the hotel. I didn’t see any signs saying “Keep Out” or “No Trespassers”. I ventured inside with some trepidation in case a slab of masonry or something might fall on me but I emerged unscathed.

I’m not a huge fan of HDR but I decided to use the technique to give the interior shots a hyperreal effect which I think the grotesqueness of the place demanded.

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