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An aerial view of Fanore

Clare’s coastline from the sky

A NEW photo book, Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way – An Aerial Perspective of County Clare’s Extraordinary Coastline, has just been published and contains photographs from the full length of Clare’s coast, from New Quay in the north of the county down to Loop Head, and all along the Shannon Estuary, as far inland as the airport.

The book is by Patrick G Ryan, who was living in Miltown Malbay until his death, just a few weeks ago.

His friend Ann O’Connell explained, “This was a project that he started about four or five years ago. His father was a pilot here in Miltown Malbay and Patrick would have done a lot of flying with him. His father passed away from bowel cancer and Patrick decided to put this book together in memory of his father and to donate the proceeds to Cahercalla Hospice. That was the journey he went on and, unfortunately, he succumbed to the same fate as his father.”

Obviously, flying up and down the Clare coast did not come cheap but Patrick funded it all himself, Ann said.

“He invested a lot of money in flying for the book. He funded all of that himself. It was very expensive; it ran to thousands but he was adamant that he wanted to dedicate it to his father and to Cahercalla. The book was a means of combining his passions for flight, photography and this county,” she said.

A bird's eye view of Lahinch.
A bird’s eye view of Lahinch.

“He had a love for Clare and, in particular, he was passionate about the Burren. He found the Burren very peaceful. He had a passion for flying from when he was a young fella, from going up in planes with his father. One of his first loves was photography and that’s how I met him, through the Ennis Camera Club.”

When she got her copy of Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way last week, she was very pleased with the final product.

“I’m absolutely delighted with it. I’m delighted with the quality of the printing. I’ve seen other books from photographers and the quality of the printing was not good at all. I went through this thoroughly and I’m delighted with it.”

Asked about her favourite images from the dozens included, Ann said, “I’m a Quilty woman and needless to say I was chuffed with that one. I thought the one of Ennistymon was fantastic. He has two of Ennistymon in but the one that takes in all of the town, I thought the clarity in the picture was wonderful. The focussing is incredible; it all seems to be in focus to me.”

Summing up her late friend, Ann said, “He was a gentleman to the core, a passionate photographer and a man of his word”.

In the foreword to the book, Patrick wrote about his early love for flight.

“I first started flying when I was about four years of age. My father Joe Ryan was a flying instructor at Biggin Hill Aerodrome in Kent, in the south-east of England, from the mid 1950s till he returned to Ireland in 1970. He would strap me into the passenger seat and we would go flying. My mother said that I would return from these flights with a great big smile on my face that went from ear to ear and that it was very hard to get me back out of an aircraft.”

On how he viewed the book, Patrick wrote, “This book is a permanent record of the Clare coast as it is in the time that I live in, as seen through the eyes of a pilot and photographer.”

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