2020 Readers' Photography Competition

With over 3,700 entries submitted over the course of the year, our 2020 competition has finally come to an end and we have some amazing images to share with you as our winners are announced

icon  COVER IMAGE : 2020 winning photograph. A lightning storm over the 12 Bens in Connemara, taken on the 14th of June 2020 during the lightning storm that swept across the country. Taken on Truska beach looking north west. Photographer: Johnny Mulvany, Dublin

Introduction by 

Jim Coughlan, Visual Media Manager

The Irish Examiner Readers’ Photography Competition was started many years ago with the intention of promoting and encouraging our readers who had a passion for photography; to give them a forum where their work can be expressed and shown to a wide audience, and to reward them for their talents. 

That same ethos prevails today .. and with the introduction of smartphones and affordable high-end cameras, anyone who loves taking photographs has the technology available to them to take great images without breaking the bank. 

Of course, having the technology and equipment is only half the battle when taking a really great photograph. It is also about being creative, dedicated… it’s about hard work. It’s about patience and many disappointing images in order to get the right one. It’s about being in the right place at the right time… and not always by chance. It’s about a great many things that, when they come together at the one time, can produce something spectacular, captured in a single frame for all time … the reward that makes it all worthwhile.

We had over 3,700 entries to our competition this year .. each one a testament to the great talent we have for photography in Ireland. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to enter our 2020 competition and also to congratulate our worthy winners this year. Our overall winner this year gets €1000 and €250 goes to each of our two runners-up. 

I would also like to remind you that our 2021 competition is now officially open and ready for entries. For full details and to upload your entry click here.




john Mulvany’s photograph, which was the overall winner, captures a lightning storm over the 12 Bens in Connemara in Galway. He took the photo on June 14 2020. Mr Mulvany snapped the mesmerizing image on Truska beach while facing north west.

He had travelled from his home in Dublin to Connemara for a staycation just as the first lockdown was lifted.

He says the picture was ‘pure chance’. “You could just see the storm rolling on over the mountains, I just set the camera up and let it go.”


Johnny Mulvany at home in Oldtown Co Dublin, with his winning image. Photograph Moya Nolan

Mr Mulvany says he would mainly do a lot of astrophotography, which involves photographing the night sky, the stars and the planets. “I’ve been doing astrophotography for 15 years. I always have an SLR camera anywhere I go, so any opportune moment I take [a picture].”




 Rowing on the River Laune Killorglin Kerry. Photographer: Nuala Corkery, Kerry.


NNuala Corkery from Killorglin in Kerry is one of our two runners-up. She was out for a walk and snapped a rower surrounded by clouds, which were a reflection on the River Laune, in Killorglin in Kerry. “I think I took the picture last June. We have a good rowing club here. Two of the girls in the club will compete in the Olympics.”

Ms Corkery is speaking of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley, who qualified to compete in the Women’s Pair in the Tokyo Olympics, which was supposed to take place in 2020.


ABOVE: Nuala at the scene on the Iron Bridge where she took the picture. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Ms Corkery says she spends a lot of time in the area, walking her dog and her ‘grand dog’, which is her daughter’s dog.

“If I get a decent photograph, it’s an accident. I was lucky this time round... I am sure I had lots of competition too.”


"Bottoms Up" - Clare Ladies Footballer Niamh O'Dea entangled with Laois's Clodagh Dunne in the LGFA Intermediate Football Champions Photographer: William O'Reilly, Clare.


the other runner-up in the competition was William O’Reilly from Carron in County Clare. His winning image depicts the Clare Ladies footballer Niamh O’Dea with Laois’s Clodagh Dunne, in the LGFA Intermediate Football Championship.

Mr O’Reilly says getting the picture was ‘pure luck’. “It’s not what normally happens, I just clicked at the right time.”

Mr O’Reilly says he would often take photos of local matches, and his daughter used to play for the Burren Gaels Ladies Football Club.


ABOVE: William O'Reilly with his winning photograph out on the Burren near his home near Carron, Co Clare. Picture : Eamon Ward

“I have always had a camera, but in the last 10 to 15 years I really got into it.”

He also has a community Facebook page for his work, which is called BurrenEye Photography. “I would upload sports photos as well as nature shots of the Burren on there.”


Editor's Choice readers' competition pictures of the year

The entries were so good for our 2020 competition, we couldn't pass up on the opportunity to share a selection of the images we thought were among the best of our weekly winners. 


The Sleeping 'Giants' - David Hourihane aged 9 at The Great Blasket, Co. Kerry Sept 2020. Photographer: Áine Hayes, Cork.


11 year old, Seoidin, took this photo of her younger sister, Laia McBride, on March 15th 2020 in Bonane Heritage Park in Kenmare peeking through a seated hut.  Photographer: Seoidin McBride, Kerry.


My 2020 self. Photographer: Paul Conroy, Dublin.


Francesco the Weimaraner and his ' brother' Luca the Springer Spaniel dancing on Ardnahinch beach in East Cork. Photographer:  Mark Leo, Cork




Our competition for 2021 now open!

We would also like to remind you that the Irish Examiner Readers' Photography Competition 2021 is now up and running. Learn more on how to enter by clicking on the image below.



Irish Examiner Longread

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