BON Photography: Blog en-us (C) BON Photography (BON Photography) Thu, 07 Apr 2022 13:35:00 GMT Thu, 07 Apr 2022 13:35:00 GMT BON Photography: Blog 96 120 The Cottages Ireland _BON3348 8:10_BON3348 8:10

If you are looking for an ideal staycation this year, go no further than The Cottages Ireland, in Bettystown, Co Meath. Set on the beautiful beaches of Laytown and Bettystown these luxury self catering cottages are an ideal base to explore the many historical and entertaining locations we have on offer here in Co Meath and surrounding areas.

One beautiful evening in June I took advantage of the setting sun and while the incoming tide lapped away around my ankles I set up the tripod just in time to capture the sun burst kissing the corner of this beautiful cottage.

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Little did I know both Liz & Roger, owners of The Cottages, were celebrating their wedding anniversary at the same time. This chance photo turned into the pleasure of meeting this friendly and welcoming couple. I was honoured that they chose this photo to mark their celebration. Since then they kindly let me explore this idyllic haven and photograph their beautiful cottages and gardens.

The gardens are blooming with gorgeous flowers.

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Imagine waking up each morning to the sound of the ocean in your back garden and having your coffee here overlooking the sea. Or winding down at the end of a busy and exciting day of exploring the surrounding areas and sights of Meath. 

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The Cottages boast 6 luxurious 300 year old thatched cottages - Little Orchard Cottage, Rose Cottage, Thatcher's Rest Cottage, Apple Loft Cottage, Garden Cottage and even Honeymoon Cottage. 

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Little hideaways in the garden provide private areas to relax, unwind, read a book... _BON5645 8:10_BON5645 8:10

And several little play areas for the children to enjoy in a safe environment ......      

Even when the weather turns - and lets face it - it regularly does here in Ireland ! - the Cottages still provides a stunning and dramatic backdrop. Who wouldn't want to witness a rumbling storm over the sea from the safety and comfort of here.

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Nothing is more magical than a warm summer evening here in the gardens and a great location for all the family to gather and catch up - from all corners of the country and the world. Many families who are separated and dispersed around the globe gather here for their annual get-together and return year on year out.

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So don't waste any more time and go check out The Cottages Ireland  - - and come visit us here in East Meath. You won't want to leave !

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(BON Photography) laytown staycation beach bettystown BON Photography Brid O'Neill Ireland Laytown photographer self-catering" thatched cottages' Tue, 18 Aug 2020 12:52:11 GMT
The storm before the real storm !!! BON-Storm-Dennis-Laytown Feb 2020 - 2:3BON-Storm-Dennis-Laytown Feb 2020 - 2:3

So Storm Ciara & Storm Dennis hit our shores early 2020 & then Storm Jorge decided to pitch in and join the party... Our country was bruised and battered and several households and business were badly damaged. I popped down to Laytown beach to witness some crashing waves and crazy skies.


The country was just starting to recover from these storms and then the real storm hit.... not a meterological one... but one in the shape of a Virus....Coronavirus.


Covid19 - an infectious disease caused by a new virus, is a respiratory illness (like a flu). So we all thought - 'hey it's just a flu, what's the big deal ?' And we just carried on....

Each week passed and suddenly it wasn't just in China anymore. It was on the move. Now it had arrived in Italy and was starting to take hold. It had gotten scarier. It was spreading and it wouldn't be long before we had our first case here. Was this real? It was like something from a movie.

Schools closed, work from home became the norm and social distancing was the new phrase .... Life was about to change

A Sunday morning at the beach - and even the fishermen were staying apart as per the guidelines

BON-Fisherman - March 2020 - SquareBON-Fisherman - March 2020 - Square

Today is 31st March 2020 - definitely the longest month in history! - and we are now into week 3 of self-isolation, and week 1 of even further restrictions 

- stay at home policy, only essential businesses open, only leave home for food or medical supplies, 2km radius for outdoor activities, cocooning for over 70's..... and so on.

We all miss our families and friends and it's a big ask of us all..... but by sticking to the guidelines - WASH YOUR HANDS !!! and self isolating this will be over sooner rather than later. Take the time at home to catch up on a few box sets. Or clean out those cupboards you always said you would do if only you had the time. Paint that shed......

And take the time to remember and appreciate the hard work all our healthcare workers are doing. And all those on the frontline. While we are lucky to be able to stay indoors, they are the ones out in the public. Risking themselves to save lives and keep the economy going. We have the easy job - we just have to stay at home to do our part.

I know I for one am looking forward to seeing my family soon. Even the mundane arguments over nothing are missed ! And soon it will be time to get out and experience these scenes again





(BON Photography) "wash your hands" BON Photography Brid O'Neill Coronavirus Covid19 flatten the curve flu infectious disease Ireland quarantine self isolation social distancing stay at home Storm Dennis Storm Emma Storm Jorge storms virus Tue, 31 Mar 2020 12:32:32 GMT
Seal Magnolia comes to Laytown Seal Pic 7 - 16:9Seal Pic 7 - 16:9 I was on the beach on Sunday ... decided to go down for about an hour to get out of the house for a bit after all the storms and bad weather. Several people approached me and said that there was a baby seal over at the railway bridge at back of the car park. So I headed over and sure enough there she was soaking up the sun.

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She was very relaxed and inquisitive and seemed used to people. If anything she was loving the attention. I only had a 24mm prime lens with me... so I sat beside her. She was happy for me to do that and she just chilled out while I ran off a few shots. 


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Apparently her name is Magnolia. She was rescued in August 2019 by Seal Rescue Ireland at approx 2 months old. At the time she was underweight, dehydrated and had a very swollen face. After some time in ICU, she was then in kennels where she was monitored, administered medication and rehabilitated under the expert care of Seal Rescue Ireland. Here she learnt the necessary competitive skills needed to survive in the wild. Once she had gained weight and developed swim muscles and fitness she was then ready to return to the ocean.

Seal Rescue Ireland tagged and released her in December 2019 at Gyles Quay/Carlingford in North Louth. They had been contacted Sunday and checked her and said she’s perfectly healthy. I reckon she had enough of Louth and jumped borders to us here in Meath!!!

I stayed sitting with her for about an hour and to be fair anyone coming up to see her was very respectful and kept their distance. None of us touched her. And when you see the razor teeth when she yawns you def wouldn’t!!!

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But she was friendly and totally relaxed with people coming and going! Her behaviour was good and was in the 'happy banana pose' - head and tail in the air - which is a sign she is feeling good, happy and just resting....

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She caused quite a stir here in Laytown and even made the newspaper headlines  - with some of my photos of her reaching the Irish Times & local Meath Chronicle this week.

So after a few hours rest, relaxation and some much needed sunbathing, Magnolia headed back out to sea. Where she's heading only she knows. Lets hope she comes back to visit us one day here in east Meath.... she is welcome back anytime 

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(BON Photography) baby seal banana pose BON Photography Brid O'Neill good news story happy seal Laytown Beach seal seal magnolia seal rescue Seal Rescue Ireland Thu, 05 Mar 2020 13:43:31 GMT
Dermot's Cows A glimpse into farming life 

Cheeky Calf 1 - 2:3Cheeky Calf 1 - 2:3 I recently had the pleasure of being invited to photograph Dermot Hilliard and his herd of cows at Farm Fresh, Co Meath. It was clear from the outset that Dermot is very proud of his herd and takes extremely great care of them. And what a bunch they are! Plenty of characters in the mix.

I was greeted with this animated mother - letting me know she was there !! And who was in charge !

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Next we had the mugshot line up.... This one put on quite a show


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Galilieo - a 4 month old calf - aptly named by Dermot himself - was one of the main reasons I was excited about this shoot. Dermot had shown me a photo of this calf a few months ago and I immediately knew I needed to get this photo. A very affectionate and playful calf.

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Followed by an even younger - 2 month old... another cutie

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Licker - yes also personally named by Dermot - is about 8 months pregnant and is one of the largest and most impressive cows I have ever seen. She's huge - and I don't mean that because she's pregnant. Last year Licker had twins - so maybe it will be triplets this time !!!!

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There was even a Panda look-alike 

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And throw in a chicken or two. This is one busy farm.

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Despite their large size, there was a distinct gentle side to these animals. And a definite curiosity.... 

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And then came my favourite.... this cheeky divil

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So big thanks to Dermot for inviting me to meet these lads and lassies and well done for taking such good care of them.


(BON Photography) a day in the life of farmer BON Photography Brid O'Neill bullocks calves chickens cows cows and calves Farm Fresh farm life farmer Irish farmer meath farmer Thu, 13 Feb 2020 12:44:54 GMT
Howth Harbour & Pier BON-Boats-Howth-Pier - Dec 2019 - 16:9BON-Boats-Howth-Pier - Dec 2019 - 16:9 So 2019 was coming to an end and a new year and a new decade dawning. I hopped into the car and headed to Howth Pier on Sunday 29th December to hopefully get some images before year end. It was a cold and windy Sunday in North Dublin. As it was late afternoon the usual hustle and bustle was in place in this popular harbour. I lived in Sutton for 4 years from 1999 to 2003 and remember the usual Sunday crowds. Add Christmas holidays to the mix and it's even busier....So I actually was lucky to manage this shot of the fishing trawlers without too much interruption. Once done I decided to pack up and come back another day. 


So, Friday 3rd January 2020,  after checking the forecast and my trusty Clear Outside App the night before, I dragged myself out of bed and on the road to Howth by 7am. One of the few benefits of the cold winter months is the late sunrise !!! Roads were clear, pier carpark empty ....result. Only the sounds of the fishermen getting ready could be heard. I set myself up op on the steps and waited. It looked promising - sun was coming up behind the cliff and the colour was taking shape. And then I was getting in the zone and got this frame... Boom

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And it was fleeting moment as unfortunately there was not enough high cloud to catch light over the lighthouse. And so the light faded quickly. But I was happy to get even this one. Another photographer arrived to get few images in before settling off for a days work.

I managed to get few more I before heading back to car to warm up and look forward to some hot coffee and breakfast. Post-Christmas Diet starts soon !!!

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(BON Photography) BON Photography Brid O'Neill Dublin fishermen fishing trawlers Howth Howth Harbour Howth Lighthouse Howth Pier Ireland long exposure photography sunset trawlers Mon, 06 Jan 2020 14:41:58 GMT
Christmas in Belfast BON Christmas Markets Mono 2 - 4:5BON Christmas Markets Mono 2 - 4:5Christmas Markets at Belfast

Belfast City Hall - located in Donegall Square, in the heart of the city, faces North, dividing the commercial and business areas of the Belfast. This beautiful piece of architecture was completed in 1906. City Hall in Durban, South Africa is almost an exact replica, with Port of Liverpool also a close match. (Just Google them and see for yourself!)

It was my first visit to City Hall and have to say I was extremely impressed with the structure - both inside and outside. Christmas was nearly upon us and the shopping fever and madness had begun. The Christmas Markets had started and were in full swing. I took some family time and spent 3 nights in the city with my sister, niece, brother and some friends. We enjoyed some great food and wine, dazzling Christmas lights, sightseeing and soooo much shopping. My niece Chloe was not happy until she had spent every last penny of her fund  - in her words - 'Sterling no good to me back in Wexford' !

So with all that going on there wasn't too much time for shooting photos. But I did manage to sneek out on my own one evening and get few pics at City Hall. It was about 4.30pm and sun was setting. The commuter chaos was about to kick in...

BON Christmas Markets 1 - SquareBON Christmas Markets 1 - SquareChristmas Markets at Belfast

The Christmas Markets were great. Full of hustle and bustle and beautifully decorated. Plenty of stands for Christmas gifts from hats and scarves to novelty plaques. Not to mention the millions of Santas and Snowmen ! And food galore .... even a Kangaroo Burger !

It didn't take long for darkness to set in and the true beauty of City Hall and its lights came to life

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BON Christmas Markets Mono 1 - 3:2BON Christmas Markets Mono 1 - 3:2Christmas Markets at Belfast The next day - and before the next instalment of shopping started we took trip to Crumlin Gaol. One of the most interesting and informative - not to mention  grim - tours I have experienced. History spilled out of every corner as the tour guide brought us underground into the tunnel beneath Crumlin Road used to bring prisoners from the Gaol to the old Courthouse. A trip to the Governor's Office and then into the Cell Block where over approx 150 years 17 executions took place. It's not for the faint hearted. But I highly recommend this tour. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and brought the whole experience of life (and death) in the gaol to the fore. So make sure to take in this experience next time and peer into the dark history of Northern Ireland's most infamous prison. Oh and if you're bit peckish afterwards Cuff's Restaurant on site is very tasty.

Next stop - Titanic Museum & SS Nomadic. Another great trip. The whole experience from start to finish is excellent. The mural outside is a great piece of art and depicts the dock workers.

BON Titanic Centre Mural - 16:9BON Titanic Centre Mural - 16:9Christmas Markets at Belfast Recommend the White Star Pass which gives access to Titanic Museum and SS Nomadic. Museum is well done and very informative and interactive. The building itself is the first thing you notice on arrival and the architecture is stunning.

BON Titanic Centre  - 3:2BON Titanic Centre - 3:2Christmas Markets at Belfast We were lucky we got there early and no queues so it was pleasure to wander around. We particularly enjoyed the ride around the dock yard. And the simulated experience of being on the ship was excellent - have your sea legs ready !

So after a morning of sightseeing young Chloe was having withdrawal symptoms .... the cash was burning a hole in her pocket...So back to the shops and into Victoria Shopping Centre. And back to City Hall to the markets. 

BON Christmas Markets Mono 3 - SquareBON Christmas Markets Mono 3 - SquareChristmas Markets at Belfast

Few more days of shopping and eating and we were then ready to hit the road back down South.... one more stop off to The Quays in Newry to offload the last of the Sterling. Chloe was well and truly shopped out..... as were we. Great few days and quality family time.



(BON Photography) "Christmas Shopping" "Crumlin Gaol" "family time" "Victoria Shopping Centre" "Christmas Lights" "Titanic Museum" Belfast Christmas Markets Belfast City Hall BON Photography Brid O'Neill Ireland Wed, 11 Dec 2019 13:56:50 GMT
Nanny Cottage - Laytown, Co Meath This must be the most photographed cottage ..... and I must confess I am guilty of taking many, many photos of it... But it's hard not to photograph when it's on your doorstep and the changing late usually produces so many colours, not to mention the changing tides and waves. 

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Summer has officially ended and autumn has arrived. While we have experienced a somewhat Indian summer here on there east coast of Ireland in the last few weeks, there has been a change in the last few days. Mornings and evenings are chillier and the dark evenings are closing in. At time of writing this blog on the last day of September, Met Éireann are warning us of Hurricane Lorenzo. A Yellow Status warning is in place for Thursday with winds and heavy rain predicted. Lets hope it will have lost most of its force before it hits our coastline !!


Situated on the east coast of Ireland in Co Meath and together with the neighbouring villages of Bettystown & Mornington, Laytown is approx 50 km north of Dublin. And is just over 11 km south of Drogheda. Laytown is a small village but has increased in population over the years due to its proximity to Dublin and has become part of the commuter belt.  Having moved to Laytown in January 2003, we have become one of the many 'blow-ins' to take up residency here. Since then we have walked this beach many a time. It is a dog walkers dream. 


With each changing season and Ireland's unpredictable climate, Laytown beach never fails to impress.From Sunrise to Sunset 

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The thatch roof is undergoing a makeover at the moment
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So the next time you are looking for new destination to visit, take a trip and visit our beautiful beach here in East Meath. In the meantime I will still continue to document this through the camera lens.  And don't forget to check out my gallery & my Social Media pages for many more images and if you are interested in any please contact me 😉

(BON Photography) beach bettystown BON Photography Brid O'Neill cottage drogheda east meath epic light Ireland laytown meath Mornington nanny cottage sunrise sunset village Mon, 30 Sep 2019 12:39:00 GMT
Sunset in Dun Laoghaire So it was Wednesday 18th September 2019 and we had just gotten the great news -  my eldest niece - Laura - had given birth to baby Alana - her first baby - and the first great-grandchild in our family. The next generation had begun and I was now a great aunt - although Laura tells me I was already a 'great aunt' !

It was already a beautiful day mid September, with a somewhat Indian Summer here in Ireland for the last few days. So I decided to take a trip to Dun Laoghaire, camera & tripod in hand and hoped for a nice sunset to celebrate the new arrival.

And I wasn't disappointed .....

I was greeted with some beautiful sunshine. The East Pier had come to life and there was plenty of hustle and bustle. Usually a popular spot for walkers, the Pier had a mix of fishermen, dog walkers, families and the odd photographer ! It was approx 18.30 when I got a lovely shot of the boat soaking up the rays of setting sun.


Sunset was due at 19.35 so I set off down to the lighthouse at the end of the East Pier. By this time several people were taking advantage of the good weather and were out walking & roller blading. While the signs looked good and there was a possibility of a decent sunset, I was not getting my hopes up. After all the last few evenings had been exactly what a photographer does NOT want.... blue Skys and no clouds

I did not expect the spectacular colour and display that was in store. 'Epic light' is a term which seems to be over used these days...... but this was indeed Epic Light. I think baby Alana ensured that on September 18th, there would be great light !!!

And it got even better.... 

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And so the lights came on and it was time to pack up the gear and head back to the car.



But time for one more pic....

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And then just like that it was all over....  

And so the sun set on Alana's first day in the world and if that light is anything to go by I think it will a bright future for her. Congrats Mammy Laura & Daddy Liam. Many years of happiness ahead.... See ye all this weekend.

And so with 10 more nieces & nephews waiting in the wings .... can't wait to see what sunset will be in store for your babys' first day...... 😉





(BON Photography) boats Dublin BON Photography Brid O'Neill Dublin Ireland Dun Laoghaire East Pier epic light golden hour" indian summer september 2019 soaking up the sun sunset Thu, 19 Sep 2019 16:46:41 GMT