Listen while reading
Download

Ireland packs a lively history and a backdrop of lakes, rivers, mountains and fields into a small island on the western edge of Europe. The landscape enchants natives and visitors alike, explains Christina Williamson.
Text by: Christina Williamson
Country: Ireland

he island nation of Ireland is world- renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, sculpted over the millennia by both man and nature.

It has captivated many with its rugged beauty, its untamed charm and its mythical history.

Movie location scouts searching for dramatic, otherworldly settings to film scenes set in history when the world was a much different place, where kings ruled and beasts roamed freely, often choose Ireland for their backdrops.

Ireland was formed during the last glacial period, many millions of years ago, when rising sea levels caused ice to melt, separating the land from Europe and Great Britain.

Historians estimate that Ireland was first settled by humans about 10,000 years ago by Iron Age warriors known as the Celts.

The Celts had a huge influence on Ireland and to this day remain a strong and precious part of Irish culture and heritage, particularly in traditional music and art. Celtic stories and myths are still passed down through the generations and the current official language of Ireland; Gaeilge (pronounced gwale-ga) stems directly from the ancient Celtic language.

After the Celts, Ireland was invaded by the Vikings. After a fair amount of looting, raiding and fighting, the Vikings began to settle and mix with Irish society, sharing their trading abilities and skilled craftsmanship. They went on to found some of Ireland’s first towns and cities, including Dublin, Wexford and Cork. They even gave Ireland its name, a combination of the Gaelic word Eire and the Viking word land.

Ireland’s colorful history doesn’t stop there: after the Vikings, the Normans arrived, followed by Christianity, famine, battles, plantations, uprisings and even civil war.

Graham Williamson, who was born and raised in Ireland and is an avid photographer of its landscapes, explains Ireland’s appeal with visual imagery:

“The strange light that changes so much from the west to the east, the coastline that becomes more rugged from the north to the south, the ageless beauty of this green, mountainous, flat and river divided landscape with its huge diversity and geological anomalies like The Giant’s Causeway. Partnering with this is an undefinable, subterranean Celtic presence which somehow unites man, mythical creature and landscape in a great cauldron of rugged, untouched beauty which is full of secrets, times passed, and adventure.”

Graham was a keen photographer in his youth, and returned to his hobby with gusto over the last decade or so, rediscovering his passion for capturing Ireland’s landscapes with his camera.

“For me, it is one of my favorite pastimes, I love heading out for the day, equipped with my camera and walking boots. I revisit places, get lost in new ones and have always enjoyed exploring and being in the outdoors.”

“The landscapes in Ireland cease to disappoint me, to become boring or monotonous. My mother has a house by the beach on Northern Ireland’s Antrim coast. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have walked and photographed that beach, and yet no two days on it are the same—the light will change, the contrast and saturation too, sometimes minute to minute. I love the unpredictability of it all. There can be a rough storm in the morning with dark, angry skies, and by afternoon, a warm sun is shining and the waters are calm again.”

Ireland has many lakes, loughs (inlets) and winding rivers. Rugged mountain ranges dominate the skyline, ancient forests sprawl, and there are patchworks of green farmland as far as the eye can see. Underground, another fascinating world of limestone caves and crevices are waiting to be explored. There is a changeable and sometimes unforgiving climate, an interesting mix of old world meeting new, and of course, about 6.4 million pairs of smiling Irish eyes.

Helping to enhance this landscape further is Ireland’s rich history. It’s easy to find ancient ruins of castles, settlements, monasteries and places long forgotten and steeped in myth, legend, and fairy tales stretching back to the age of the Celts and beyond.

It’s a never-ending mix of opportunities for photography enthusiasts.

Fact box
If you ever find yourself on your way to Ireland with your camera, be sure to check out this list of its top landscapes as recommended by Irish photographer Graham Williamson.

The Cliffs of Moher: Ireland’s premier tourist attraction

These hills are majestic remnants of the last Ice Age. They are Ireland’s premier visitor attraction, with over a million visitors annually. They perch on the western-most edge of Europe, and the next landfall from there is 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, in New York.

The Burren: Bare limestone and wildflowers

The Burren, an area of bare limestone pavements which were once ocean beds of warm tropical seas millions of years ago, covers about 360 square kilometers. If you look carefully, you can find fossilized remnants of sea urchins and anemones. In spring it’s covered in wildflowers, including purple and white orchids and electric blue

gentians. Midlands Magic: Drumlins, Druids and sacred sites

Often forgotten or overlooked, this is an area of glorious, multicolored rolling landscapes of drumlins (oval hills), eskers (ridges of sand or gravel), lakes and bogs. It inspired several great writers, including Dean Jonathan Swift, who wrote “Gulliver’s Travels.” It’s home to ancient Celtic sites and Locke’s whisky distillery, reputed to be the oldest in the world.

The Lakes of Killarney and Gap of Dunloe

The lakes are nestled beneath a towering mountain range called the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, home to the highest mountain peak in Ireland, Carrauntoohil at 1,020 meters. It’s full of secret valleys, beautiful views and Ireland’s first national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Mullaghmore: Spiritual heart of the Burren

A sacred mountain in County Clare which was folded into its dramatic, layered shape by colliding tectonic plates far beneath the earth’s surface, millions of years ago. Truly one of the last, most natural, peaceful and unspoiled landscapes you will encounter anywhere in Ireland.

The Giant’s Causeway: A stone’s throw away

In total, the causeway stretches some 120 miles along the coast of Northern Ireland. It gets its name from old Celtic legends that tell of giants using the rocks as stepping stones across to Scotland. The rocks are strange, hexagonal basalt columns formed from volcanic activity some 60 million years ago.





feedback
nombre@ejemplo.com

Ireland, a land of myth and legend

Ireland is an island nation renowned for its breathtaking landscapes. It captivates people with its rugged beauty, untamed charm, and mythical history.

About 10,000 years ago the Celts settle the island and give Ireland its language. After the Celts, the Vikings invade Ireland and found some of Ireland's first towns and cities and even give Ireland its name, a combination of the Gaelic word Eire and the Viking word land. After the Vikings, come the Normans, followed by Christianity, famine, battles, plantations, uprisings, and even civil war.

Ireland is such a beautiful country that it is often used as a backdrop for historic movie locations. Graham Williamson, born and raised in Ireland, is an avid photographer of its landscapes. Graham was a keen photographer in his youth and returned to his hobby recently. It is one of his favorite pastimes and he loves being outdoors, revisiting places or getting lost in new places equipped with his camera and his walking boots.

Graham explains to us Ireland's appeal with visual imagery:

"The strange light that changes so much from the west to the east, the coastline that becomes more rugged from the north to the south, the ageless beauty of this green, mountainous, flat and river divided landscape with its huge diversity and geological anomalies like the Giants' Causeway. Partnering with this is an undefinable, subterranean Celtic presence which somehow unites man, mythical creature and landscape in a great cauldron of rugged, untouched beauty which is full of secrets, times passed, and adventure."

 

Comprehension

Below you will find text comprehension questions. Read and listen to the text and answer the questions (we recommend you read first and then listen).

A land of myth and legend

Quiz

 

Grammar in Use

Below you will find PDF documents with the Grammar in Use.

Elemntary: Too Vs. To

Intermediate:Idiom: Couch Potato

Vocabulary

Ireland, a land of myths and legends

Summary Vocabulary

Discover its sights, sounds, and tastes:

Travel and learn!

If you want to learn English TeaTime-Mag recommends: