January 1990 I headed off to the west coast of
Eire, via Stranraer, Belfast, Newry and Kells
where I stayed overnight to see a peaceful
morning the next day. Off across country -
destination was the Burren area of County Clare
because a) I wanted to see it, b) I wanted to say
hello to the Atlantic and c) I wanted to hang out
in pubs and listen to the music (last but not
So it was straight over to Limerick then up
through Lisdoonvarna ending up at a small coastal
place called Doolin. I wasn't into weather
photography as such back then, so the results
here were by good fortune. The whole week was
characterised by gale to storm-force winds and
first morning at high tide and some real growlers
were hitting the low cliffs to the north of
Doolin, prompting a closer look....
goes! Sky turning more ominous by the minute....
to the south but with another squall in the
distance so a walk to the Cliffs of Moher was
suggested, despite the fact that conditions were
obviously very wild indeed...
seems to be a lot of spray exiting the high
clifftops - what's going on?? Time for a closer
water being hurled across the clifftop
....oystercatchers sheltering from the storm in
...getting closer to one of the big spray-clouds,
looking down into the maelstrom...
.....aha! It's so windy that streams falling off
the high cliffs are being picked up and hurled
back inland. Weird! Of course the next thing was
to have to walk through the spray so it was a
case of heads down & get through it.....
on the Cliffs of Moher in another squall as the
Atlantic boiled hundreds of feet below. One of
those days you could lean over the cliffs and be
held there by the wind (if you wanted!).....
squall clears to a stormy sunset, illuminating
the tremendous swells rolling in....
days the weather was too much and sitting in the
pub was the preferred option. Late one afternoon
we climbed Black Head at the N end of the Burren
in thick clag and heavy rain: on nearing the top
a small break appeared in the cloud....
within a few seconds the rain-washed limestone
pavements of the Burren lit up in the sunlight,
almost metallic in their appearance. What a
magical place - it ought to be spot-on as a
stormchasing venue when an unstable NW-erly is
bringing in lots of convection from the Atlantic.
I'll have to go back again sometime to find out!
A day or two later the return trip was made via
Rosslare to Fishguard in a spectacular overnight
crossing in which waves were breaking over the
bows of the ferry, things were falling off
shelves in the bar and the drive back up to
Mid-Wales was something out of a nightmare. This
was the beginning of the famous Burns' Day Storm.
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