Local Loves - A Samphire grazing Herd on an Islandmagee Farm...

A few weeks back, we went to a beautiful Farm in Islandmagee to photograph a handsome herd of Friesian Dairy Cows... their adorable calves, and of course, the Bull!

They were absolutely enormous creatures - you don't realise quite how big they are when viewing from a field (insert Father Ted joke, here), and we were maybe just a little intimidated at first! ;)

But the lovely, lovely Jane, who runs the farm with her husband and son (and daughters when they're at home!) soon put us at ease... They have the most gentle nature, and they were very interested indeed in what on earth these two city types were doing in their field, photographing them!

I was absolutely captivated by how different each cow was - their different markings, and personalities, so we ended up shooting almost a series of portraits. It was a really special shoot. I love how they just stared down the lens at us... it was almost like they were looking inside our soul. Wonderfully intense creatures. The Bull was really incredible - an enormous mass of rippling muscle, so majestic - I don't think I realised just how close I was to him until we got home and reviewed the shoot... 

These cows have a pretty amazing life... after milking in the morning, and evening, they stroll down to the banks of Larne Loch, where they graze on Samphire, seaweeds and grass, herbs and wild flowers, until it's time to head back up to their hay lined beds. I have to say (apart from the milking!)... I wouldn't mind a day in the life of these lovely girls! The wee calves are all hand reared by Jane once their Mummy's are back to milking - they keep both the boy and girl calves, and rear them up until they're ready to join the herd or go on to be Bulls at another farm... they frolic all day in their cosy barns, and have great fun moo-ing at the top of their lungs! We got a wee cuddle with some of them, and they're so cute!

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse in to some local Northern Irish farming - we so enjoyed shooting this one...



Local Businesses - Kilcoan Gardens...

A few weeks ago now, we visited Kilcoan Gardens in Islandmagee after hearing about their gorgeous grounds and wonderful tour for their open weekends.

Guided by the lovely Cherry Townsend, who manages, designs and runs the gardens, we were treated to a wonderfully informative tour, focussing on early Spring plants, what grows best in our Northern Irish climate, and what was flourishing and blooming for Spring. Cherry was so incredibly informative, and knowledgeable, rattling out the latin names for all the lovely plants, I felt like I was in the presence of a seasoned Garden TV presenter... it was SO fascinating.

Despite the rain, and hail (!), we had a fantastic time, and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful afternoon tea that was laid on for us at the end, most of it baked by Cherry's lovely mum... on gorgeous vintage crockery, no less.

Such a beautiful, and tastefully done garden, I just loved every minute.

Cherry is hosting another Open Weekend this coming weekend as part of the National Trust NI - Ulster Gardens Scheme, and we're really looking forward to returning to shoot more of early Summer (I know, it's a bit of a laugh so far, right?) blooms. Make sure to pop along, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and fascinating commentary from Cherry.

Saturday & Sunday 6th&7th June 2015, 2-5pm. 240 Middle Road, Islandmagee.