It’s a photograph that distills the glory of the summer that’s gone — hordes of adults and children eagerly awaiting the chance to leap from the diving board in Salthill and plunge in to Galway Bay.
The photograph, taken by Carl Cutland, was last night named Photograph of the Year at An Taisce’s Clean Coasts Photography Awards.
It also won first prize in the People and the Coast category, one of four categories in which prizes were awarded at the event at the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire.
First prize in the Coastal Heritage category went to Jakub Walutek for his haunting photograph of the sail training ship Astrid, which foundered on rocks at the mouth of Oysterhaven Bay near Kinsale in Co Cork.
It won the main award in that category, ahead of images of a sunset at Knockadoon in East Cork and a rain-lashed lighthouse at Hook Head, Co Wexford.
First prize in the Coastal Landscape category went to Stoyco Danev for his photograph on Inishtrahull Island off the coast of Donegal.
The winning entry in the Nature and Wildlife category was ‘The Curious Blenny’ by Brian Tormey, showing the small fish peeking out from a hole in a rock.
As the prizewinners split the competition fund of €4,000, an exhibition featuring 40 entries for the awards were displayed last night and will be shown at different coastal locations in the near future.
The prizes were presented by Fergus O’Dowd, the junior environment minister, who said that while the images reminded people of their fortune at having a coastal resource, there was also a responsibility to maintain it. “The use of our coast comes with a duty of care to protect and enhance it as best we can,” said Mr O’Dowd.
Patricia Oliver of An Taisce’s environmental education unit said the shortlisted and winning images celebrated our coastline while acting as “a reminder of our responsibility to protect such treasures for future generations”.
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