Lonely Planet Writer

Other-worldly photos of Ireland’s Beara Peninsula will inspire your next travels

Sweeping scenery, ancient stone circles and rugged coastline make the Beara Peninsula one of Ireland’s most dramatically beautiful spots. Local photographer Norman McCloskey recently released a striking collection of images which capture the region’s untamed beauty. If you’ve yet to visit the Beara, his work might even inspire your next trip. Just make sure to pack a camera and a notebook.

Glanmore Lake on Beara Peninsula. Image by Norman McCloskey

Kenmare-based photographer Norman McCloskey spent two years capturing the wild and windswept landscape of the Beara Peninsula, a place often overlooked by travellers in favour of neighbouring Iveragh Peninsula (the famous Ring of Kerry). His collection of images are beautifully presented in a 120-page book, Beara, named after the region which the photographer says always inspires his best work.

The Healy Pass. Image by Norman McCloskey

After finishing his first book Parklight – Images of Killarney National Park, Norman was inspired to take on another long-term photography project but what he took on didn’t spark his interest with the same passion as the previous book. He often made the short trip from Kenmare to Beara and realised after a while that what he was looking for was right under his nose.

Crossterry on Beara Peninsula Image by Norman McCloskey

“One day I was out on the Beara Peninsula, working on gallery images and realised this is the place that I love coming back to the most and that I had the greatest connection to,” he tells Lonely Planet Travel News. “Apart from my personal connection to the place, which inspired a life-changing move from the city to live in the countryside, the landscape is a constant source of inspiration and fascination for me.”

Ring of Beara. Image by Norman McCloskey

It’s one of the lesser-known spots on Ireland’s famous Wild Atlantic Way but visitors to the Beara Peninsula are rewarded with some of the country’s grandest vistas, like Healy Pass, a sheep-spotted mountain road which offers views down to Glanmore Lake and across to Kenmare Bay and Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range.

A stone cottage on the Beara. Image by Norman McCloskey

Norman’s book captures the essence of the Beara; its lush green forestry, stark bogland and shingle beaches and makes it clear why the area, which stretches between West Cork and Kerry, has always drawn creative souls. Although the terrain appears unruly, it’s home to working fishing villages and secluded hamlets, as well as pretty tourist towns like Glengarriff (which has its own microclimate).

The moody skies of the Beara. Image by Norman McCloskey

“The Beara Peninsula definitely has a very special feel to it which is hard to quantify,” says Norman, “but it has inspired all sorts of artists, and craftspeople and writers to make it their home for many years.”

Beara is available to order here, all copies signed by the author and come with a foreword from film director Neil Jordan (Michael Collins, The Crying Game, Intermission) who says “What Norman McCloskey captures forever is that moment when the rain has stopped, and the familiar beauty emerges from the cloud. You had almost forgotten it was there.”

Beara is priced at €35 (£30.40/$39) plus post and packaging.