Spike Island Shoot – 09/10/2016


Spike Island an Island fortress has a rich and varied history. It started life as a Military Base protecting the ships of the Royal Navy for over 100 years and then used by the Naval Service for many years. It was also used in many guises as a prison, from a holding prison for prisoners being sent to the penal colonies and al prison during the war of independence to finally as a detention facility for convicted joy riders.

As a venue for a photo shoot it offers a wide range of subject material. You have fantastic views of Cobh and the outer harbour. The fort itself is an interesting subject with its high walls, bastions and artillery positions. Then you have the old cells coupled with the modern detention centre. There is the contemporary architecture married with the old drill Hall which makes an interesting subject along with the clock tower building which houses a very interesting history of the fort, a history of the navy and an impressive collection of Irish militaria Then there is the Gun Hall which houses an impressive array of varied artillery with lots of brass parts ideal for a bit of macro photography. Finally, outside the fort there is the dereliction of the old accommodation quarters and the village area of the island.

ECCG enjoyed a great day on the island and the only issue is how quickly our time passed on the day. It is definitely one I would recommend (a tripod recommended as there are lot of low light opportunities) and it is one I will be revisiting

See a full gallery of images from the shoot here. Enjoy!

 - Andrew Foley


Cork Harbour and the “Morgenster”

Cork Harbour EUpton-11

The arrival of the Dutch Tall Ship, the "Morgenster", to Cork on 9th June as part of the Ocean to Sea - Cork Harbour Festival was a photo opportunity not to be missed by our members.

Cork Harbour Jim Curtin-5The "Morgenster"  is a brig,  a two masted,  filly square rigged sailing ship. Her rigging is based on the American clippers from the Eighteenth Century. She is a stunning and elegant ship and has been sailing as a clipperbrik since 2008 when her restoration was finished. Its mission is to preserve a historical heritage of seafaring and to help further develop all persons on board. During Tall Ship races she can always be found in the leading group and is always a feared competitor. Her rigging is said to be dated to 1840. As a training ship she is allowed to sail around the world with up to 36 trainees and a crew of 10. Her young apprentices take sail training voyages supported by the Cork Sail Training  Bursary Scheme.

Shipping type - Brig
Built in 1919 and restored in 2008
Crew  6 - 10
Length: 48m, Beam: 6.64m, Draught: 2.40m, Sail: 600 m2, Mast Height: 29m, Engine Capacity: 430hp, Speed under sail: 12 knots, Speed under engine: 9 knots.

Cork Harbour Kevin Day-3

We photographed the ship while it was docked on Albert  Quay, when  passing  Blackrock Castle on her way to Cobh and also on the Quayside in Cobh.

In order to capture photos of her from a  different angle Kevin kindly volunteered his services and that of his boat for members who wanted to try out their sea legs. With Kevin as Captain and Fergus as First Mate, only two crew members, Finbarr and I, jumped aboard in Cobh  at 5pm and our adventure began.

We managed to capture some great shots of the ship with Cobh as a backdrop before we sped off up the Harbour for a quick salute to Haulbowline before we headed off on our mystery tour.

Cork Harbour EUpton-13We passed by the Irish Lights vessel, ILV Granuaile, anchored securely in the Harbour. She stood majestically above us as we ventured close to her. Her size would have been no match for us had she decided to move!!

We then passed beside the iconic Spitbank Lighthouse located to the south of Cobh set at the end of the long mud bank, marking a 90 degree turn in the shipping channel. It marks the boundary of compulsory pilotage for large vessels entering the Port of Cork. Its peculiar form and design make it a striking addition to our maritime heritage as it differs from the more traditional stone built lighthouses along the coast. The Platform was designed by Alexander
Mitchell, inspired by the domestic Cork Harbour Fergus Kenneally-7corkscrew  -   a cast iron support system that enabled construction in deep water on mud and sandbanks. The Lighthouse itself was designed by George Halpin and was first lit in 1853 and remains a working light to this day. It has a focal plane of  10 metres and white and red lenses depending on direction of approach.

Cork Harbour Kevin Day2-11It was then time for Finbarr and me to hold on as Kevin turned up the throttle and we sped in the direction of Crosshaven. We passed beneath Camden Fort Meagher looking out protectively across the Harbour. We then slowed again as we were now entering into the Owenabue Estuary and the Sunday daytrippers were out in their boats. Crosshaven is home to The Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest Yacht Club in the world. We  cruised by the magnificent yachts, standing stately on the still waters. We went up the estuary towards Curabinny Wood and then turned back again. The day was very overcast and unfortunately the sky was not lending itself to showing any colour at all. It would definitely be a place to revisit with a blue sky overhead.

Cork Harbour FOShea-1We then decided to head for East Ferry. White knuckled, Finbarr and I held on as we sped  off. As we neared East Ferry, looking east across the Owenacurra River to the mainland we could see the Bell Tower of the Holy Trinity Church. It was built in 1867 of red brick and limestone banding and its Bell Tower stands 75ft high. We slowed as we neared the church sitting at the foot of a wooded hill. This was a rare opportunity to photograph this church in such a tranquil setting. Only the noise of the cameras clicking could be heard over the peace and quiet of the birds singing in the evening.

Leaving the Marlogue Woods on the south east edge of the Great Island behind us we decided that it was time to head for home as the evening was not going to lend itself to a sunset shoot this time so, with Fergus at the wheel, we headed back for Cobh just before the rain started.  A great day was had by all despite the grey skies and some beautiful photographs were taken.  A special thanks to Kevin for giving of his time and providing his boat for the evening.

Click here to see a full gallery of images from the shoot. Enjoy!

 - Eileen Upton



Fort Davis Shoot – 15/05/2016

Fort Davis FOShea-4

Given that we shot all 57 cruise liners that called to Cork Harbour during the 2015 season, shooting another in the 2016 season was really not on the agenda but that's what happened on Sunday last 15/5/16.

With the recent and rare fine weather, sunsets are the order of the day at the moment and with low water at around sunset, we headed for the lower harbour and decided on the elevated site near Fort Davis in Whitegate, East Cork.

The sunset, while nice, wasn't brilliant but off in the distance, berthed at Cobh Cruise Terminal, lay the 333m long MSC Splendida which was due to depart about an hour after sunset. Having been on board this beautiful ship nearly twelve months ago, ECCG has a particular fondness for her so we decided to wait and see her off.

In the distance we could see it had silently slipped from the berth and was moving past Cobh. Slowly, with the Cork Pilot Launch at her heel, Splendida came around the Spit Bank Light, past the Whitegate Oil Refinery jetty and was a beautiful sight, all lit up in the blue hour, as it almost silently passed between Forts Davis and Camden towards Roches Point enroute to Southampton.

With a capacity for 4,363 passengers and 1,370 crew, Splendida is, effectively, a floating small town and this sight will be repeated many times over this season as upwards of 60 liners are due to visit Cork harbour this year. Check out the Port of Cork Cruise Liner schedule for dates and times.

Click here to see a small gallery of images from the shoot at Fort Davis. Enjoy!



MSC Splendida Shoot – 30/08/15

Splendida Jim Curtin-1

ECCG was delighted to be a guest of MSC Cruises on board their ship, MSC Splendida when she docked at Cobh Cruise Terminal yesterday for her third and final time this year.

Splendida was the fiftieth liner visit of the year to the port of Cork and arrived to beautiful weather that lasted all day up to and beyond her late, 9pm departure. The combination of this huge ship, the fine weather and it being a Sunday brought great crowds of onlookers to the harbour town just to get a glimpse of the ship and enjoy the associated activities on the quayside and in the town.

Splendida Keith Johnson-2On board, we were taken for a beautiful meal in the very plush Villa Verde panoramic restaurant on Deck 6, following which we went to the Aft Lounge on Deck 7 for tea and coffee. During this we made a presentation of a framed series of images of the ship, taken in Cork harbour during 2015, to the ship's events manager, Ms. Anna Vakulenko.

Splendida Keith Johnson-11At this stage we did a tour of the ship taking in the wonderful Aqua Park featuring four outdoor pools and one indoor pool with a retractable roof - ideal for cruising in our weather. We also visited the shopping mall and casino as well as the many restaurants and wellness/fitness centres. The Sports bar with its two bowling lanes was an interesting feature while the stylish Reception area with its waterfall and Swarovski crystal stairs was really classy.

Splendida Denis Barry-56As the bells of St. Colman's Cathedral rang out for 9pm, three long blasts of the ship's whistle announced her impending departure. With mooring ropes cast off and recovered, she was off the berth and moving downriver past the town, dipping her deck lights a number of times in farewell. A beautiful sight in the blue hour, she slipped almost silently around the Spitbank light and headed for Roches Point and out of the harbour on her way to Southampton.

Many thanks to MSC Cruises for the invitation on board and we look forward to seeing your ships back in Cork again next year.

Click here to see a full gallery of images from the day. Enjoy!



Royal Princess Shoot – 27/08/15

The port of Cork's busy cruise liner traffic peaked the interest of ECCG this year to the extent that we decided to make it a project to photograph each ship that called to the port during the 2015 season. With fifty-five liner visits in total scheduled, we knew this would be a daunting task but undertook to do our utmost to pull it off.

Anthony OConnor - Regal Princess 25-04-15-3It all started on 25th April with the arrival of the Regal Princess on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. Already, the first one was in the bag and the project was underway. May was a busy month with seventeen ships as well as the 100th anniversary of the Lusitania disaster but we managed to get them all. June saw nine ships in and there were eleven in July and we still had a full house.

After each shoot, we posted a gallery of images on our website and as the total began to soar towards 1,000 images, we realised that we had most vantage points in the harbour covered and that all our images were of the exterior of the ships taken as they arrived and departed and while berthed in the port. As the quest for fresh angles became increasingly difficult we felt that some interior shots of one of the majestic ships would be a nice departure and would compliment the shots we already had very nicely. As Princess Cruises were the most frequent line to visit the port with fourteen calls and Royal Princess was the most frequent ship to visit with ten calls, we felt that she should be the ship to photograph if at all possible. That event happened today.

Royal Princess DBarry-3As the clock ticked past 6.30am, Royal Princess, with its 3,600 passengers and 1,300 crew on board, was visible from Cobh at Roches Point. On her tenth and final visit of the season, she was the 46th liner of the year and the first of three to call on this day. As she made her way between Forts Davis and Meagher, the sun began to spread its magic over the harbour and bathed the ship in a golden glow as she did a 180 degree turn and went alongside at Cobh Cruise Terminal.

Royal Princess DBarry-14Royal Princess KD-4

At 10am we boarded the ship and were taken directly to the bridge by our guide, Miranda, where we met the Captain, Robert Oliver and the Hotel General Manager, Michael Prasse. We made a presentation of a framed series of images of the ship on her visits to the port and were delighted to receive a ship's plaque from Captain Oliver in return. The view from the bridge was outstanding and set the tone for the day's shooting that lay ahead.

Royal Princess 28-08 AOC-6Thereafter, we toured the ship and took in her splendour. Only two years old, she was named by the Duchess of Cambridge on the 13th June 2013 and like her 'godmother', exudes elegance and style at every turn. Among her highlights, the Royal Princess offers a larger and expanded atrium with additional entertainment and casual dining options and it boasts the largest top deck pool ever with Princess Watercolor Fantasy, an enhanced Movies Under the Stars screen, and a SeaWalk with views 128 feet straight down through the glass floor!

Royal Princess DBarry-57Having worked up an appetite, we adjourned to the Horizon Court restaurant on Deck 16, for lunch, for which the choice was seemingly unending. It was really relaxed and enjoyable and afterwards we planned the afternoon's shoot which took us to the casino (which was closed unfortunately) and the atrium where an All Ireland champion uilleann piper and a local troop of Irish dancers entertained the cruisers to great applause.

Royal Princess EUpton-1Resisting the temptation to somehow stow away and depart Cork with the mighty ship, we made our way to deck four and the exit where cruisers, who had been ashore, were streaming back to the ship for the 5.30pm 'all aboard' time. With a glance back we marvelled at the feat of engineering and logistics that is the Royal Princess with a more meaningful understanding of the Princess Cruises slogan, "come back new". Our brief introduction to the world of cruise liners definitely left us with a taste for more and I even heard a suggestion that next year the club should have a foreign shoot ..... on a cruise!!

Many thanks to Princess Cruises, Captain Oliver and his crew for a great opportunity and we look forward to seeing you back in Cork again next year.

Click here to see a gallery of images from this shoot. Enjoy!