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Mullaghmeen Forest Walk 24/02/13

In 2013 one of my New Years resolutions is to be healthier and lose weight; so to fit in with this I’m planning to do as much walking as possible.  This is mainly because I hate the gym, I find it boring, but I absolutely love walking.  However where I live, the chance to walk is limited in the winter months.  The Irish countryside is indeed very beautiful, and I love living here; but having no paths, the roads can be very dangerous, especially during the dark winter months.  So given the current time of year I’m limited to walking at the weekends.

On Sunday I decided to visit my local forest, Mullaghmeen Forest Park in County Westmeath.  It’s only 10 minutes drive from where I live, but is a great place to go walking away from the roads.  I plan to visit here more often after work when the evenings get lighter.

For those of you that are interested in photography, you will know what it is like leaving the house without a camera, it’s impossible; you feel like a part of you is missing ;-).  So understandably, even though the main point of my outing was to get fit etc., I couldn’t go without some form of photographic equipment.  I have a handy waist bag, which carries my DSLR and a couple of lenses, or as I do – a DSLR with lens, bottle of water, phone and other bits and bobs 🙂 .  It’s handy as it doesn’t get in the way of a serious walk.

Anyway back to Mullaghmeen, I digress :-).  It’s a beautiful forest and as it was my first power walk of the year I decided to do the ‘Red Walk‘ which is only 3km.  A good starter I thought.  Well the day was dull to start off with and I wasn’t sure whether there would be any photo opportunities; however things were changing….

Forest of blue and grey

Forest of blue and grey

I noticed that the dull grey was breaking to reveal a beautiful blue sky.  I loved the contrast in colors, the way that the blue and grey were trying to battle against each other behind the silhouette of trees, was it the grey or the blue that was going to win?…..

Grey or the blue side, which will you choose?

Grey or the blue side, which will you choose?

At the moment the forest is still very bare and showing no signs of spring, winter still has a grip on nature, but I’m sure this will change very rapidly over the coming weeks. As I turned a corner, the sun finally made an appearance.

Woodland walk

Woodland walk, blue sky was winning

The majority of the trees in Mullaghmeen are Beech.  It is reputed to be the largest planted Beech forest in Ireland, covering 1,000 acres.

Can't see the wood for the trees

Can’t see the wood for the trees

The lighting was gorgeous and to be honest my camera was getting more use than my legs were ;-).  But I was still pushing myself between stops.

Mullaghmeen sunshine

Mullaghmeen sunshine

Forest dream

Forest dream

The above shot took me slightly from the path as I was drawn to the way the sun was glistening on the leaves.  I accentuated this slightly in photoshop using the diffuse glow filter, I like the dreamy effect this filter gives, but you have to be careful that you don’t overdo it 🙂 Although the colours were stunning in the forest, I had to try a black and white conversion.

Beech Trees

Beech Trees

The forest is owned and maintained by Coillte, Ireland’s leading forestry company.  The paths in Mullaghmeen are fantastic and make access really easy.

Mullaghmeen path

Mullaghmeen path

As I drove out of the forest I noticed that storm clouds were starting to gather and the contrast between the land and sky was fantastic, so I couldn’t pass by without some more photographs.

Storm clouds gather

Storm clouds gather

I think I finished just at the right time 🙂

There may be trouble ahead

There may be trouble ahead

And yes as I’ve captioned the above picture, I was singing ‘Lets Face the Music and Dance’ by Nat King Cole as I took the picture 🙂

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32 responses »

  1. Something that fascinates me about forests, nice colors. Fancy a walk up Wicklow soon with cameras and head torches, I have a few good walks mapped out with great photo ops especially if the moon is out!

    Reply
    • I know what you mean about forests, the child in me comes alive when I’m in them, thinking about faeries, magic and Lord of the Rings :-). The Wicklow walk sounds fantastic, definitely up for that one, all very Blair Witch 😉

      Reply
  2. I grew up in the woods- love your forest walk!

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  3. I know what you mean about leaving the camera … if I ever do leave it, I almost immediately regret it! I love the drama in the photos of the pending storm!

    Reply
    • Thanks LB 🙂 You can always guarantee you will see the best sites if you don’t have a camera with you. I must admit I’m a bit addicted to stormy skies, just shows what nature is capable of 🙂

      Reply
  4. Great pictures! The sky looks so creepy.

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  5. the light on the bottom 2 are great but the last one makes fav status due to the composition and light

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  6. Nice post Claire and some lovely pics. We’ll have to join you one day and do the white route

    Reply
  7. oh, yes, that Was Lovely.

    enjoyed the walk very much – and the blue skies pushing away the grey and emerging victorious as you sang to the trees.

    beautiful.

    we shall return.

    *wavingfromLosangeles*

    Reply
  8. Beautiful pictures Claire. I particularly like the black and white beech trees. And thank you for the likes on my site too. D

    Reply
  9. These pictures are so lovely — I’m especially jealous of your lovely blue skies!

    Reply
    • Thankyou so much Polly for the comment and passing by 🙂 We get very few clear blue skies in Ireland, but we do get some lovely cloudy blue skies, like in my pictures, which are beautiful. However we also get a lot of rain, but that’s why it’s so green, and I don’t mind 🙂

      Reply
  10. Hi Claire, lovely forest photography. I get to see some of the most beautiful sights up the Wicklow mountains. Only photo problem is that I go there on my bike and I have no space for the DSLR, lenses, tripod, flash, reflector etc that has become essential to shooting food.

    Reply
    • Thanks Conor :-). I spent quite a bit of time in Wicklow recently, namely Glendalough and Powerscourt House, great photography. I so wanted to go up into the mountains on Saturday but the roads weren’t fully clear :-(. Watch this space I have my photographs to post, sadly time is not on my side at the moment :-(.

      I’m obviously not as serious a cyclist as you are, I’m happy to do about 20km in a round trip, but my bike is very ladylike and has a basket and pannier, so my camera and tripod do tend to still go with me 😉 I suppose it’s my way of encouraging myself to get fit 😉

      Food photography obviously doesn’t travel light 😉 but I certainly enjoy reading your posts, I will get round to having a go at your recipes one day 🙂

      Reply
  11. These are gorgeous shots Claire! I was right there with you (carrying your camera lol). the walk itself had to be wonderful, much less the beautiful surroundings you captured so very well! Your narrative completes your post making it picture perfect! Just love it, thank you! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Thanks fo sending your link.The reason I have not been back is apparently because yours has RSS and not email notice. Now I’ll just have to remember to go and look.These are all very good. The beech forest is quite pretty. Your photos are outstanding.

    Reply
  13. Oh sorry about that. I just never scrolled far enough down the right side to see that I can get a notice by email. I’ve been so remiss. Not sure how that happened.

    Reply
  14. Hi Claire, it is a shame you haven’t posted anything for a while. Do you know the film “Photos to Send” it is a beautiful documentary by Dierdre Lynch about the people of County Clare.

    Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by Bertie, I’m getting back into the swing of things again, so I hope you enjoy my future posts. I haven’t seen the film but I will definitely check it out, you never know it could be a future post 🙂

      Reply

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