Who am I?

A journalist student from Dublin, Ireland. I'm looking to show the world a view through my camera's lens and where I point it. You may even learn something about photography along the way! Weekly blog posts about my adventures.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Dublin Tourism Part 4: Luas Track Extensions.

At the moment Dublin City Centre is a disaster with the Luas Cross City works going on right through the middle of it. The bridge pictured below was completed almost two years ago by now and is fully functioning as a bus bridge. Don't get me wrong, the bridge is beautiful and really adds to the Liffey crossing system we have, I just didn't think the rest of the connection would take so long between the Green Luas Terminus in Stephens Green to the Red Luas Line on Abbey St and beyond to Broombridge.

New Luas Bridge over the Liffey
The connection lines are being laid from Grafton St, down Dawson St, around the front of Trinity College, through College Green, past the Screen Cinema on D'Olier St, across the new Luas Bridge to where it connects with the Abbey St Red Line and then on out to Broombridge rail station. This has caused chaos in Dublin City traffic wise since the summer of 2015 when it began.

The site where Fixx Café used to be, Dawson St.

Most people have now gotten used to the bus routes been changed to cater for the new lines and I actually like the new routes as they get me through town easier and faster. I can't imagine what town is going to be like after the completion of the new line and there are Luas running up and down the new lines. 

Pearse St
There has been a lot of improvement in the last few weeks and there are some lines down now to show the progress. I do think though that the connection between the two lines will improve getting through the city centre a lot and make it faster to get from Grafton St to O'Connell St.

College Green.
Once all the work is done and this mess is cleaned up our city will look great and I can't wait for the proposed finish date in 2017. For the moment, if you plan on driving through town, there are alternative routes online that you can follow to get you from one side to the other. I would not recommend driving through though because traffic is heavy enough as it is with all the buses and taxis around.

Hawkins St

With the 1916 Easter Rising Commemorations coming up though work on the new lines is going to stop for the month of March and April of 2016.

Outside the Screen Cinema
So be warned that traffic will be heavy for the coming months as plans are set to finish the lines over the next 10 - 12 months in the City Centre and we will have the new Luas running through the middle of Dublin too.

Dublin Tourism Part 3: 1916 Rising Commemorations Preparations

The Spire of Dublin was erected in 2002 and is made of stainless steel. It is pin shaped and stands at 121.2 metres tall. It is situated right in the middle of Dublin City Centre on O'Connell street and is one of the most popular meeting spots for the people of Dublin for a day out in town.

Dublin Spire, O'Connell St
It was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects and it was manufactured in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. It cost €4 million to erect. However none of this seems to have been taken into account with the planning around the 1916 Easter Rising Commemorations. A number of parades and other events are planned to take place outside the GPO which is right beside the Spire and event co-ordinators want to have the Spire removed for the two week long commemorations. 

Dublin Spire.
The monument which can be seen from most parts of Dublin is a set landmark in the city centre and is now even a tour destination. At night there is a light on the top part of the Spire to brighten it up and ensure it can be seen by both people on the street below and air planes. 

The event co-ordinators want to re-create the landscape of O'Connell Street from 100 years ago and that's why they want to remove the Spire for the two weeks. The cost of removing the Spire is set at around €500,000. 

1916 Tour Bus, O'Connell St. 

The Spire is going to be removed in sections which are hopefully going to be stored in a hanger in Dublin Airport for the two weeks. 

I have always known the Spire to be there from the time I was old enough to go into the City with my friends. It is going to be weird to walk down O'Connell St without the Spire there.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Dublin Tourism Part 2


Colin's Barracks is the Decorative Arts Museum of Ireland. The video above was shot the day I went to visit and have a look around. Some of the events on in there at the moment include a performance called 'Pull Down a Horseman', 'Hands on History', a 1916 Re-enacted: Foot and Arms Drills and public tours to name a few.

Court Yard, Collin's Barracks

The court yard in the Barracks is beautiful. It is 100ft x 100ft and this is marked out along the walls to show the history of the museum. Once in the courtyard, you can see everything there is that the museum has to offer including the café and the main entrance to the museum. The origins of the Barracks lay in the threat to Britain and Ireland by Revolutionary France. In response, the British Government decided to increase the number of Barracks in the British Isles.

Car park and future site to an exhibition in Collin's Barracks
I took my camera with me only to find that there was no flash photography inside the museum so I had to switch to my phone once I got inside. For the outside pictures though I got a beautiful sunny day and I just had to change my ISO settings a little for the amount of light each picture would let into each one of the shots.

Cannon inside the museum

These pictures inside the 1916 exhibition are all taken on my phone and I just wanted to show you some of the stuff going on inside. The museum is laid out beautifully and it is easy to navigate your way around all the different sites. There are exhibitions with voices and videos to talk you thorough some of the stories of people that died in the Easter Rising and other stories too.  

Dickie Bird the infamous horse

My favourite show was a small room on the imfamous war horse known as 'Dickie Bird' during the Rising. The show contains loads of information on his background and shows medals he won and talks the visitor through his storyline. 

Recruitment sign
The 1916 exhibition is worth the visit especially if you want to know more information on what happened throughout the rising and everything that went on around it. The tour is free and you can go and see the performances.

Man dressed for war

This is worth a family trip day out at some point in the coming months before March and the parade that is upcoming to celebrate 100 years since the 1916 Rising.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Dublin Zoo Romance

Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park - Andy Waller
The day I got out to the Zoo to take photos and a video for this post turned out to not be the greatest day weather wise. I still got some amazing pictures none the less. Above is the entrance to the Zoo and below is the first thing visitors see apon entering the gates.

Zoo Entrance Views - Andy Waller
Dublin Zoo is not the first place that comes to mind when I think of 'Romance'. Then I heard about the Zoo's new feature. Have you gotten engaged recently and are you looking for somewhere to make your big day as fun, creative and special as possible? Well Dublin Zoo can now offer you that chance.
A camouflaged lizard - Andy Waller 

In one of the house's named Haughton House in the middle of the Zoo, they have the room set up beautifully and ready to go for the bride to walk down the aisle. Of course you can change the set up a little if your Bride-zilla has a few issues.

Door to Haughton House - Andy Waller 

Haughton House -Andy Waller

Haughton House, a restored historical building with magnificent views of the Zoo, is available 7 days a week for all types of wedding ceremonies.

Situated just in the middle of the park with great views, if you can get a good day weather wise for it, the surroundings of the house are beautiful and you may want to take into account a few extra visitors for the meal. The Zoo even has a dedicated wedding planner and you can have your reception in the grounds of the Zoo or go outside the Zoo to your own destination. They offer a full catering service and other gift ideas and picture opportunities with the animals.

A Monkey Playing - Andy Waller
A Turtle Relaxing - Andy Waller
 You can really get a sense of the couple to be wed by their choice in wedding venue and the wedding pictures. You can get to see their personalities shine through with the different locations of pictures before and after the wedding ceremony and if they chose to stay in the Zoo, there's loads of different locations for pictures with stunning backdrops and different animals that could set the scene for the newly-weds.

Dublin Zoo means a lot of things to a lot of people. The Zoo is cherished by many as a creator of wonderful childhood memories and experiences. I used to have an annual pass as a kid because I only live a few minutes walk from the Zoo. I used to go most weekends with my friends growing up to see the Tiger's and Monkeys. The Zoo is now offering couples the chance to create wonderful memories of their own by saying 'I do' in the grounds of this amazing place.

A Grey Wolf - Andy Waller
With this year been a leap year too, the women can propose to their men. So why not do it and start planning your perfect day at the zoo for the next year and make it special for both of you. The Zoo planner will work closely with you for the year and help you get the most out of your day out in the Zoo and help you have a fun and creative day for all your guests.

If it's not quite wedding season for you yet, the Zoo can be a great day out for you and your significant other any way. There's so much to do. The animals will all be out putting on a show for their audience and you can go along at any time to check them out. The Zoo is great and has food places and petting Zoo's if you want to get closer to some of the more cute animals. I don't recommend getting too close to some of them like the Tiger's and Lion's but the cute ones like the piglets and bunny rabbits you can pet in the Petting Zoo.

Maxi the Male Tiger relaxing - Andy Waller
There's also been several new arrivals at the Zoo to date for the public to try and see, including baby Elephants which are still hanging off their mother's tails.

Feeding time is probably the best time to get in and visit the animals, especially if you have small children with you. When feeding time is on, all the animals come out to try and get their dinner and they usually put on a show for the public too. All the animals have dedicated feeding time so if you can plan your schedule accordingly you could make your way around the park and see as many animals getting fed as possible.

So if the Zoo seems like a great idea for you and your other half to make a special day out of, do get onto them and let them help you. I personally would love to experience a wedding in the Zoo and watch how it happens because it seems like it could be great fun and a day that your friends and relatives will never forget.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Dublin Tourism Part 1

I was thinking about starting a little series on the sites of Dublin that the famous red tour bus, that you see driving around the city every day, stops at every 10 minutes. I see it nearly every day because I'm in the city centre most days. So I thought, before the crowds get busy in 2016 I would start with Glasnevin Cemetery.

The cemetery opened in 1832 and it is the final resting place of some 1.5 million people. There is a genealogy that can be found on the cemeteries website: http://www.glasnevintrust.ie/genealogy/
While records of all burials date back to February 22nd 1832 and they give all the information including the exact spot of the deceased, there was not always a headstone and so almost three-quarters of those buried in Glasnevin are in unmarked graves.

Glasnevin Cemetery, Finglas.

One of Dublin's most popular tourist attraction, I had actually never been there before today! However I have been past it outside it before, loads of times. The sheer size of it just from the outside always made me wonder just what was going on. The history behind the walls is astounding!

This short clip I got from the Glasnevin Cemetery YoutTube page goes into a little bit of the history of Patrick Pearse. The Cemetery has loads of tours you can do to find out more about who is buried there and why they're buried there. The YouTube page for the cemetery can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo17SEQ0MxmNdSLscSANTDQ

One of the biggest attractions of the Cemetery is the grave of Michael Collins.

Michael Collins grave, Glasnevin Cemetery. 
The man who fought in the Easter Rising in 1916 is buried right here! This is his actual grave! thousands of people come to see the grave stone and pay their respects. The reason the cemetery will be so popular next year will be because it will be the 100th anniversary of the rising. This I'm sure, will bring even more tourists to come and see the grave and the rest of the cemetery too. 

I brought my camera today and had a look around before I did any shooting to get a feel for the place. The size of it was amazing. I tried walking to the other side of the cemetery which was great and I just kept thinking to myself about all the headstones and how beautiful they are the the detail that went into some of them was really unbelievable. 

Grave in Glasnevin Cemetery.
See what I mean! Some of the graves are just amazing. 

The first and last thing that caught my eye in the cemetery, and really it can be seen over the whole place is the O'Connell Tower which is situated just inside the entrance. 

O'Connell Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery
O'Connell Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery

The tower can be climbed on tours. The 168 foot climb can be made to a viewing spot by between six to eight people at a given time. Restored in 2013 from a bombing in 1971, it is now open to the public. Originally opened somewhere between 1855 and 1869, the tower was built to commemorate the death of Daniel O'Connell who established the cemetery in 1832. 

Watch-tower, Glasnevin Cemetery 
Watch-tower plaque, Glasnevin Cemetery 

In each of the four corners of the cemetery are a watch-tower made to watch over the cemetery for body-snatchers. In an era of grave robbers to take the bodies and use them in medical schools to show students and discover more about how the human body is made up, the watch-towers were erected to protect the graves in the cemetery.

Church Chapel, Glasnevin Cemetery

The chapel, also just inside the entrance of the cemetery is beautiful. I couldn't get inside it to have a look around as there was a funereal on. This got me thinking though, imagine how many funereal services that little chapel has had and who has been through its doors. 

The history of the Glasnevin Cemetery is amazing and I strongly recommend paying it a visit if you're on the tour buses! I want to go back and do some of the wide range of tours they have and visit the museum.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Surf's up!

This weekend just gone, I went away with my youth club from Greystones, to the beautiful Portrush in County Antrim for our annual surf trip! The end of November is actually not the worst time to go surfing in the cold Atlantic Ocean because it still has some warm water from the summer just gone believe it or not!

Situated near the top of our stunning country is Portrush. With the 5 millimetre wetsuit on we hit the waves with the surf project and we couldn't have chosen a better weekend for waves. If you have never surfed before, I recommend this small little surf town.

Portrush, Co Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller
The town has everything you could need after a long day in the water! I knew it was going to be a great weekend for taking snaps and for most of the weekend the weather was kind and the onshore wind was spectacular! The waves came in fast and strong!

Portrush Beach, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller

After our Saturday morning surf, we went for a (freezing cold) walk along Portrush beach which gave me time to snap away. This was the time to chat to the youth and build relationships and friendships which was one of my favourite parts of the weekend. Also a film crew was following us around for the weekend to make a promo video for 'The Surf Project', who facilitated the whole weekend for us. Keep an eye our for this video as there's a scene of, yours truly and one of the lads walking along the beach chatting!

Portrush beach, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller

Portrush town, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller
This town though almost seems as if it was built for surfers to come along and check it out. There was even a reply to one of my tweets when I said where I was travelling up.

People are so friendly up there!

Caves, Portrush beach, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller
The pictures this week are all taken on my phone as I had no room in my bag to pack my camera! The scenery however had me in Awh for the whole weekend! Which just made the surfing more fun in that I got a view from the water, coming in on a wave! 

It was like Portrush was waving us off as we left on Sunday afternoon too with the sky like it was in the next picture! The whole weekend was stunning and great fun! I want to go back Portrush so i'll be seeing you soon! 

Portrush send off! Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller



Monday, 9 November 2015

Can Ireland qualify?

With the big European Qualifications just around the corner for the Irish mens football team, I will be looking at some photos taken from Mr Martin O'Neill's first game in charge of the boys in green in the Aviva Stadium way back on the 15th of November 2013, 2 years ago! I was there as an official photographer for the game. This was my chance to really start showing my photography skills and on the day I was taking pictures for two of my reporter friends who wrote about the game.

I had my 18-55mm lens and my 55-300mm lens and a full battery to make sure I wouldn't miss a moment! alas I sat at the wrong end of the stadium and couldn't really see the goal action as it was all up the other end of the pitch but I got some good photos. including this pose from the man himself just before kick-off.

Martin O'Neill, Ireland vs Latvia 15/11/2013
Using my 55-300mm lens, I could zoom right up close to O'Neill and take this shot and I still wonder what was going through the new managers head. I use this lens mostly for close up shots of a small area. It can zoom in very close to a certain object or person and give detail through the focus. I use it a lot for sports matches or when I'm somewhere with an amazing view and I'd only want to get close to something that I can't see from such a far distance.

I still want to get a 55-500mm lens but they're expensive, so I may be saving for a while!

Using my wide angle lens, 18-55mm, I can get a lot more into frame when the object of the picture is a lot closer. In the picture below, I had swapped my lens around as the action kept coming down the right side of the Ireland attack and so it was right in front of my pitch side seat. The picture is of Ireland's Robbie Keane controlling the ball as referee Andreas Ekberg (Sweeden) awards the free-kick with this, look of disgust on his face.

Left to right: Wes Hoolahan (Ire), Ref, Andreas Ekberg and Robbie Keane (Ire)
Having the two lens handy means I can think more about pictures before I take them. I take everything into account before I press the shutter, lighting, aperture, focus and so on. Once the perfect picture is lined up, snap and it is forever saved. However on a night of football or sports action, you don't really have a lot of time to think about these scenarios. A lot of sports photographers put their cameras on rapid fire and they take 20 to 30 pictures in a few second to try and get the 'perfect picture'.

Well that night I got really lucky. I took one of my all time favourite photos. It was totally by chance. Robbie Keane was running into the box as a through ball was played to him. The Latvian goalkeeper, Andris Vanins, came out and grabbed the ball, just outside his box! I caught the moment he had it and realised where he was and at the same time, Robbie Keane screaming at the ref for a free-kick!

Left to right: Robbie Keane (Ire) Andris Vanins (Lat) 
The national team haven't had much luck in the past with big, two-legged qualifiers, as even this month we remember that famous French handball that kept us home from the FIFA World Cup.

As Ireland take on Bosnia-Herzegovina away on the 13th November and at home in the Aviva Stadium on the 16th November. Be there and support the boys and help them get the France next year, where we might meet the old enemy. @AndyIWaller Andy.

The Ireland team celebrating a goal vs Latvia 15/11/13 Aviva Stadium