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Clean Coasts have announced the winning photographers of the 14th edition of its Love Your Coast photography competition.

With a prize fund of €6,000, the competition has attracted hundreds of photographers all around Ireland this year, receiving a record number of over 1,300 entries.

Stephen Dunbar, with his “Humpback Feeding” captured in Broadhaven Bay, Co Mayo, won the Photographer of the Year title and first place in the Wildlife and the Coast category.

About the picture, Stephen said: “This image of a humpback whale was captured in Broadhaven Bay. I watched the whale feeding the day before from land. The next day, I was lucky enough to get out on a RIB with Brendan and Marcus from IWDG.

“We first encountered two huge basking sharks when they came over to our boat. After that, we found the humpback whale feeding in the bay with a handful of minke whales and lots of common Dolphins. Many birds feed in the bay, including kittiwakes, which are seen in the image, along with puffins, guillemots and razorbills.”

Winners in other categories included Peter Vandermeersch, for his photo “Horizon” in Bray, Co Wicklow in the Coastal Landscape category; Karol Ryan for “Sturgeon Moon, Ballycotton” in the Coastal Heritage category; Megan Gayda for “The Ocean Flare”, shot in Co Clare, in People and the Coast; Derek Bolton for “Emerald Jewel”, shot at Sovereign Island in Co Cork, in the Underwater category; and Robert Ledwith for “A Ray of Hope”, taken at Mullaghmore Beach in Co Sligo in Protectors of the Coast.

Derek Bolton came first in the Underwater category as part of the 2023 Clean Coasts Love Your Coast photography competition with “Emerald Jewel”, taken in Sovereign Island in Co CorkDerek Bolton came first in the Underwater category as part of the 2023 Clean Coasts Love Your Coast photography competition with “Emerald Jewel”, taken in Sovereign Island in Co Cork

In 2023, Clean Coasts celebrated its 20th anniversary of working with communities to help protect and care for Ireland’s waterways, coastline, seas, ocean and marine life.

Since 2010, the Love Your Coast photography competition has been a celebration of all the beauty and uniqueness of the Irish coast that Clean Coasts volunteers work to protect.

“Clean Coasts’ mission extends beyond a mere photography competition,” said Sinead McCoy, coastal communities manager. “Our coastal and marine environment form an integral part of Ireland’s identity. Through this competition, we invite the people in Ireland to appreciate, celebrate, and safeguard our coast, echoing the dedication of our over 2,000 volunteer groups working tirelessly to protect our marine environment.”

Karol Ryan came first in the Coastal Heritage category as part of the 2023 Clean Coasts Love Your Coast Photography competition with “Sturgeon Moon, Ballycotton”, taken in Ballycotton, Co CorkKarol Ryan came first in the Coastal Heritage category as part of the 2023 Clean Coasts Love Your Coast Photography competition with “Sturgeon Moon, Ballycotton”, taken in Ballycotton, Co Cork

See the top 50 images comprising the category winners and runners-up via the Clean Coasts website HERE.

Published in Marine Photo

The winners have been chosen in 2020’s Love Your Coast marine photography competition.

As the Irish Examiner reports, this year’s awards ceremony went virtual on Facebook Live, with the winning entries across four categories sharing in a €5,000 prize fund.

More than 40 images were shortlisted across the categories of Coastal Landscape, Wildlife & The Coast, People & The Coast and Coastal Heritage.

And the big winner was Ivan Donoghue, whose photos of divers — and specifically one encountering a jellyfish — earned him the overall award.

See the complete gallery of images on the Love You Coast website HERE.

Published in Marine Photo
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#MarinePhotography - An Taisce president Prof John Sweeney was on hand to present prizes to the winners at Clean Coasts’ Love Your Coast Photography Awards, held on Friday 10 October at the Waterways Ireland Visitors Centre in Dublin's Docklands.

Celebrating five years of the Love Your Coast Photography Competition, the top images from past years were projected onto Boland Mills in a stunning photographic display that illustrated the wonder of our coast.

Ireland has some of the most spectacular and diverse coastline in the world, and Clean Coasts engages communities in protecting these beaches, seas and marine life now and for future generations.

Clean Coasts launched the Love Your Coast Photography Competition in May during Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week, and with a prize fund of €4,000 it attracted huge interest from Ireland’s amateur photographers

With thousands of entries, the panel of judges had a very difficult task indeed to choose the winners across the competition's four categories: Coastal Heritage (won by Des Daly for his shot of the Abandoned Coastguard Tower in Ardmore, Co Wicklow), Coastal Landscape (Vincent Coey, for White Horses Bearing Down White Rock in Killiney), People & The Coast (Ian Hennessy for Diver at Bullock Harbour) and Wildlife & The Coast (Brendan Cullen for Puffin in Flight, Saltee Islands, Co Wexford).

“The coast is a critically important environmental asset for Ireland," said Proif Sweeney at the awards evening. "It's dynamic nature and ability to respond to pressures both natural and human is excellently exhibited in these photographic entries.

"An Taisce congratulates those photographers who have captured the essence of the coast and elevated our appreciation of it to an art form.”

An electronic exhibition of Love Your Coast will be displayed at various locations nationally and internationally over the coming months. A gallery of the winning photographs can be found on or on

Clean Coasts is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce and is supported by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Coca-Cola and Fáilte Ireland.

Published in Marine Photo

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.