Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Ireland's Guiding Lights - Aerial Photography by Dennis Horgan

It was doubtless unfortunate for aerial photographer Dennis Horgan that his stunning new hardback book should be released at roughly the same time as the spin-off book from the Great Lighthouses of Ireland television series, with all its money and advertising that ensured it was a good Christmas seller. I haven't actually seen the David O'Hare book yet, (despite the publicity) though I've heard very good things about it. But it is slightly unfair on Horgan that his superlative photographs probably came off second best in the Christmas market.
For, make no mistake, the photography is incredible, well-framed and making good use of the hinterland. It is a shame that the finest photo in the book, (in my uneducated opinion) a stunning two-page spread of the Mizen peninsula from Mounts Gabriel and Knocknaphuca over to the Sheep's Head, should suffer from the Mizen station and bridge disappearing down the centre-fold of the book but that is being churlish.
Let's face it, it's difficult for lighthouse photography not to look spectacular but Horgan's eye is true. John Eagle's "Ireland's lighthouses - a photo essay" covered much the same ground and the zoomable photos on the marinas site add an extra dimension but as far as the photographs go, this book is difficult to surpass. The view of Blackrock lighthouse (Sligo) at low tide on its island, for example,  is one I hadn't even envisaged and I had always thought that Rathlin O'Beirne was one island, rather than a part of an archipelago! And its so refreshing to see a photo of Achillbeg that isn't a tiny blur from Clare Island!
A few gremlins appear to have crept into the text alas, particularly as regards dates. But these don't materially affect the overall emphasis of the book and the book was put together for a wider audience than lighthouse anoraks like myself.
To someone with a slight OCD complaint. like myself, a couple of things jarred. The lighthouses are listed in a clockwise direction around Ireland, starting at the Tuskar and ending at Wicklow Head. But in a couple of places, on the east coast, the order goes out of kilter - Mew Island skips down to Haulbowline before coming back up to Donaghadee and St. John's Point; and the Bailey and Poolbeg precede Rockabill.
Worse though, (for myself, I must admit) were the omissions. No Duncannon North, Sherkin Island, Sheep's Head, Ardnakinna, Dingle, Tarbert, Beeves Rock (one of my favourites), Slyne Head (really? no Slyne Head?), Blacksod (ditto), Broadhaven, Dunree Head, Buncrana (okay, forget Buncrana), Moville, Rue, The Maidens (again, really?), Chaine Tower, Ferris Point, South Rock, Ardglass, Greenore (okay, not easy to get a good aerial photo of that), Dundalk, Drogheda, Balbriggan, Howth, North Bank, North Bull, Wicklow Pier or Rosslare Pierhead.
Hopefully, these are merely being saved for a Volume 2!!
Published by Red Stripe Press, Ireland's Guiding Lights - Aerial Photography by Dennis Horgan may be purchased on the author's website for €24.99 plus post and packing,

1 comment:

  1. A fine sturdy looking book Pete, your review is hard to ignore, now to find room on the shelves 😀