About

A Little About Me

Irish Photographer and travel blogger, Barry O'Carroll.I’m a 38 year old Dubliner with a passion for wandering around new and unfamiliar places with my camera and notebook in hand. Like many people reading this blog, I work full time and am busy with my wonderfully crazy family. This does not stop me travelling abroad several times a year to explore new destinations. Most of the time, I travel with my wife and our three year old son; sometimes I take short trips alone, especially if photography is the main aim of the trip. Thankfully there are lots of interesting places around Europe that are a only short flight from Dublin airport. Having a young son also gives me the chance to rediscover my own country all over again as I help him discover all the interesting and historic places in our vibrant home city of Dublin and around the beautiful green island of Ireland. Being a dad is also making my hair become slightly greyer each year but I’m willing to let that go. I come from a long line of follically challenged men so I’m just happy to have hair at all.

My Interest in Travel

With my grandad in the mid eighties.
A blurry photo of me with my grandad. I’m on the left. (About 1986 I think)

My desire to travel was piqued as a child when I would see photos of my grandad in various exotic places on the walls of his old Dublin house. As a child, I loved watching Michael Palin’s travel programmes on the BBC. I was always fascinated by all of the strange (to me) and wonderful paces he visited and people he met during his epic trips. I was lucky enough to meet him at a book signing in Dublin many years later. It was the first time in my life I was genuinely starstruck. I was barely able to mutter a few garbled words. This is despite him being a very ordinary and down to earth man. I just was stunned to see in person the man I’d spent hours watching travelling all over the globe.  My wife (rightly) mocked me mercilessly for this.

As a teenager, I began to read Michael Palin’s books that accompanied the series. This lead to me on to reading some other great travel authors such as Peter Moore, Paul Theroux and the brilliantly witty Bill Bryson. I knew then that one of my biggest aims in life would be to travel and see as many of the places I had read about for myself.

My favourite travel authors.
Some of my favourite travel authors: Peter Moore, Michael Palin, Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux.

My Travels to Date

Brive la Gaillarde, France.
The lovely town of Brive la Gaillarde where I spent a very happy year of my life. (iStock)

I’ve lived in Dublin all of my life with the exception of a year spent in the delightful town of Brive la Gaillarde, a town of fifty thousand  inhabitants nestled in the green hills of the Correze Department of South West France. I had taken a year out of my French and history degree to go and live and work in France to improve my language skills and just to experience something new. I had been abroad before but this was my first time to be fully immersed in a foreign country and language. The year I spent in France made a big impression on me and it was here that I met a beautiful French woman who would somehow agree to be my wife several years later (it must have been my Irish accent). I made a lot of friends during that year and had some fantastic experiences that will feature in future blog posts. I will always carry a great affection for France and an interest in its history and culture. We travel there as much as we can and I’m looking forward to teaching our son about his other country by bringing him to see as much of it as possible.

“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”

Before starting a family, we traveled around Europe and North Africa as much as we could and visited Britain, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Czech Republic as well as Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa. We went to the tiny but exquisite Indian Ocean island of Mauritius for our honeymoon. Starting our family has not stopped us travelling and we look forward to showing our son as much of the world as we can in the years to come. Children are so curious and I love observing my son’s sense of wonder as he explores somewhere new. Sometimes this can be in our own city! We definitely believe in the maxim of filling our life full of experiences rather than things.

One of the most interesting parts of travelling I find, is not necessarily the places you go to but the people you meet. I love meeting and talking to people from other countries whether during my travels or here in Dublin. When I was a child in the eighties, it was quite a surprise to see a foreigner in the city. Today, Dublin is a multi-cultural and metropolitan city. It’s a richer and more interesting place for this. I get to meet people from all over the world as part of my day job. It’s one of the most enjoyable aspects of my work. It’s often as a result of talking to these people that I get ideas on where to visit next.

Ha'penny Bridge at Dawn, Dublin by Barry O'Carroll
My home city of Dublin. (© Barry O’Carroll)

Future Travels

Japan street scene.
Japan is definitely on the travel bucket list. (Sorasak/Unsplash)

In the years to come, I hope to see more of Eastern Europe and the Balkans as well crossing the Atlantic. I would love to visit some of the smaller New England towns as well as the vast open spaces of states like Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The states of the deep south are also of great interest to me. My wife dreams of visiting Japan and this is certainly on our bucket list as well as other far away locations in East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. We’ll take plenty of more family style holidays too. My three your old is already speaking of Disneyland and looking at me with puppy dog eyes! My wife has her heart set on Harry Potter Land. I’m more than happy to follow!

Getting into Photography

St Marks Square at Dawn, Venice.
A few years ago, I photographed an empty St Mark’s Square in Venice at 6am. I love the calm and relative quietness of cities before sunrise. (© Barry O’Carroll)

I took up photography a little later in life during a trip to Andalusia where we visited friends from the port city of Malaga. It was during this trip that my good friend José showed me the basics of photography with my little Olympus compact camera. From this point on I was hooked. On my return to Ireland, I joined a photography club and spent years learning as much as I could about using my camera and post processing. I studied some great travel photographers like David Noton who was a big influence on my photography. Luckily for me, travel and photography go together like Ryanair and excess baggage charges.Today, my favourite type of photography is urban landscape. I love photographing cities and architecture during the evening blue hour and at the crack of dawn in particular. I love cities before sunrise. Often, you have the whole place to yourself. I also enjoy shooting natural landscapes from time to time too. Ireland provides no shortage of stunning locations in this regard. You can visit my Fine Art America web store here. Prints of my photos can be purchased online and posted worldwide. 

About the Blog

I started this blog as way of combining my twin loves of travel and photography. I have always enjoyed reading travel diaries and guides and decided it might be fun  to share some of my travel experiences by doing some writing myself. I hope that readers will find some useful information and entertainment in my articles. The blog contains a mix of travel diaries, photos, guides, reviews, tips and articles as well as photo location guides and photography tutorials. Travelers with an interest in improving their photography skills will find the blog of particular interest. I always keep things light-hearted and try to inject a bit of humour into my writing. Life is too short for taking things too seriously. I find that this especially the case for travel.

I hope you enjoy the blog. Please feel free to leave feedback in the comment sections of my posts. I’m always to delighted to hear from readers whether it’s to share ideas for new posts, pitch an idea for collaboration or even to complain about or correct something I wrote! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact form. You can subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter using the forms in the sidebar.

Happy travels.

Barry

 

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