Puffin winner splash

2021 Readers' Photography Competition

With over 4,000 entries submitted over the course of the year, our 2021 competition has finally come to an end and we have some amazing images to share with you as our winners are announced

Cover Image: 2021 Winning image, taken by Donagh Cronin from Ballycotton, Cork. The Great Saltee, nesting ground to hungry puffins.

Introduction by

Jim Coughlan, Visual Media Manager

2021 has been a difficult year for everyone due Covid-19. Because of the many restrictions, it has been difficult to find ways to enjoy ourselves and to express ourselves. Luckily we have had some fairly decent weather and most of us have been able to get out in the fresh air, go for walks and explore the fantastic landscape and nature we have in this country. There is so much to enjoy and so much to find if you go looking.

Our readers have been out exploring the countryside, camera in hand, taking amazing pictures for our Readers' Photography Competition. We have had almost 4,000 entries 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 2021 competition and also to congratulate our worthy winners this year.

We had seven judges on our panel this year and, as always, it was a difficult, but a very enjoyable experience. 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 2022 competition is now officially open and ready for entries. Two weekly winners are picked each week and announced in the Forum section of our Saturday edition of the Irish Examiner. The weekly winners go forward to our final at the end of the year.

For full details and to upload your entry click here.


Readiers pix winner

The Great Saltee, nesting ground to hungry puffins. Picture: Donagh Cronin from Fermoy, Cork.

the Irish Examiner Readers’ Photography Competition 2021 once again proved a wonderful showcase of the passion for photography across the country.

This year’s winner is Donagh Cronin, from Fermoy, County Cork. Mr Cronin, who is retired, snapped an amazing shot of a puffin getting his fill of fish, with delightful results.

The photo, titled: ‘The Great Saltee, nesting ground to hungry puffins’ was captured last June on the Saltee Islands.

Winner of readers pixicon

Donagh Cronin, Fermoy, Co Cork is the Irish Examiner Readers' Picture winner for 2021. His picture features a puffin feeding on sand eels on the Saltee Islands, Wexford. The picture was taken with a Nikon D750 and a Sigma 150-600mm lens. Picture Dan Linehan


Mr Cronin said his interest in wildlife photography stems from a passion for collecting bird eggs as a child.

“Returning to the avian world as an adult, with a digital camera, it is surprising how naturally the names and habits of the birds have come back to me,” Mr Cronin said. “Taking images of birds beats taking their eggs,” he added.

Runners Up

Runner up 1

"You go first". Taken at Salthill. Galway.  Photographer: Sinclair Adair, Tipperary.

t he runner-up for this year’s competition was Sinclair Adair, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Mr Adair is originally from County Down but moved to Tipperary nearly 30 years ago.

His shot "You go first" was taken at Salthill, Galway, just after one of the lockdowns.

“I stopped on my way to Connemara, I’d always wanted a picture of the pier there," Mr Adair said. He was waiting for the people who were using the pier to leave, when they lined up perfectly, 'as if they were posing' for the photo.

Sinclair Adair runner upicon

Sinclair Adair, runner up in the 2021 Irish Examiner Readers' Photo Competition

Runner up 2

Shanagarry canine residents Francesco and Luca enjoying a game of ball at Ardnahinch beach in East Cork. Photo: Mark Leo, Cork

the other runner-up was another Cork man, Mark Leo. His picture is of his two canine companions, Francesco and Luca enjoying a game of ball at the beach in East Cork, also taken during the lockdowns last year.

“I was walking the dogs as I do every day, down on the beach. It was the perfect opportunity to get a photo of them doing something different. They jumped towards me and I was on the ground, looking up at them,” Mr Leo said.

The two dogs will also be the stars of a dog photography book that will be published later this year.

This year's finalists


A very young Northern Cheetah cub and its mother photographed at Fota Wildlife Park, Co. Cork.

Picture: Chris Martin, Cork

Readers pix 2021 finalist 1

A young deer in the Phoenix Park, 1st September, trying to eat a discarded face mask.

Picture: Brenda Sheridan, Dublin

Readers pix 2021 finalist 2

Sunset at Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara on 29th June, amazing solar ray display across the sky and reflecting on the Atlantic water. The two native swans arrived into the photos to give it that graceful and peaceful feeling. Ireland is beautiful.

Picture: Enda O'Loughlin, Galway

Readers pix 2021 finalist 3

'A little birdie told me'. Fallow deer and Jackdaw at Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Picture: Anne Marie Somers, Kildare

Readers pix 2021 finalist 3

I took this picture of the two horses near Portlick Forest in County Westmeath.

Picture:  Todor Tilev, Westmeath

Readers pix 2021 finalist 5

My daughter Caoimhe doing some painting during lockdown. Things got a bit messy.

Picture: Fra Lucchesi, Louth

Readers pix 2021 finalist 6

I was walking through the streets of Kolkata, where I found a small old fashioned empty barber Shop where a Barber was sitting, it was the time when just the lockdown was over in India and people had just started coming out of their houses maintaining Covid-19 protocols, I was having a conversation with the barber, all I gotta know that how his business was declining day by day due to the effect of the pandemic and after a 6 month lockdown while having the conversation he looked at his mirror that's when I took the shot focusing on his reflection in the mirror. For me, this picture is a reflection of a common man, who is working hard by running a barber shop, during these tough times of pandemic too.

Picture: Shubhodeep Roy, India

Readers pix 2021 finalist 7

This picture of myself was taken at the upper lake at Glendalough at sunrise, Co.Wicklow.

Picture: Todor Tilev, Westmeath.

Readers pix 2021 finalist 8

Foggy morning with low water levels revealing strange shapes at The Gearagh, Co. Cork.

Picture: John P Murphy, Cork

Readers pix 2021 finalist 9

An otter checking if the coast is clear on the River Lee in Cork City.

Picture: Chris Martin, Cork

Readers pix 2021 finalist 10

The eye has it

Picture:  David Lyons, Meath

Readers pix 2021 finalist 11

Irish Examiner Longread

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