food styling · posts

Connemara with the Lens and Larder Retreat

Lens and Larder Workshop-3

Returning from Ireland and feeling inspired by the rustic terrain of Connemara and the Lens and Larder photography retreat I recently attended at Ballynahinch Castle. It truly was a visual feast for the eyes, the food styling, still life, forest walk, beach and of course the beautiful scenery, was all pretty amazing. All this would not have been possible without the organizers and tutors who injected an energy that could only leave you inspired.

The enthusiastic and very energetic Lens and Larder organizers Imen Mc Donnell from Farmette and Cliodhan Prendergast from Breaking Eggs. Creative and talented photographers Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers from Gentl and Hyers photography where helpful and generous with their knowledge that could only leave you a better photographer.

Food stylist Susan Spungen worked her magic with her creative food styling and made sure we had the freshest and best ingredients to work with. From honey, oysters, crab, seaweed, bread, foraged mushrooms, game birds and butchers… all displayed and styled with the utmost attention to detail. Team effort at its best 🙂 And not forgetting the other lovely particaptents… our crossing paths were short, but sweet. Following are a few captures from the retreat.

Lens and Larder Workshop-9476For a time I had this amazing scenery to myself… a short distance from Ballynahinch Castle. It took almost four hours to reach my destination with no wrong turns… the family were very impressed considering my sense of direction. But I wont mention the return journey!

Lens and Larder Workshop-20The beautiful styled banquet table by Andrea and Susan with many stories to capture.

Lens and Larder Workshop-27The free-spirited Claire Davey (love the Aran cardigan) from American Village Galway burned forest incense and made us a grand cup of tea with herbs and bog myrtle. Claire also mixed up some delicious cocktails with wild potions at Cliodhan and Patrick’s residence on our last evening… thank you for opening up your home to us.

The patient and dapper Shane Bisgood as he posed for a few shots… he teaches clay pigeon shooting at the castle and also I believe he coached the American Olympic team in clay pigeon shooting.

Lens and Larder Workshop-25

Lens and Larder Workshop-11Forest walk, ferns and mushroom foraging.

Lens and Larder Workshop-24Lens and Larder Workshop-28Local bee man Gerard Coyne was a delight to listen too and spoke about his passion for bee keeping… a man who certainly cares about his bees.
The local butcher John Malone demonstrated how to butcher a whole sheep, he did this so effortlessly … I guess a little know how and tools of the trade helped.

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Lens and Larder Workshop-26Fresh sea air, picnics and learning about different types of seaweed at Roundstone Village.

Lens and Larder Workshop-22Lens and Larder Workshop-19

Lens and Larder Workshop-23Last but not least… thank you to the staff and manager of the picturesque Ballynahinch Castle, Patrick O Flaherty. As my mother would say “ I ate well, but not wisely.” Missing those great Irish breakfasts that ticked all the boxes and the room with a view overlooking the lake. A beautiful place to stay or visit if you are in Ireland. I think I could do this all over again 🙂 🙂


21 thoughts on “Connemara with the Lens and Larder Retreat

  1. Connemara is such a beautiful place- thanks for taking me back there through your superb photos. Your portraits are really stunning, and all the shots that look ‘unstyled’ are so beautiful too. There comes a point in the field of food styling where the look becomes overdone- it happens a lot here in Australia too- and I can see from some of the’ foody’ shots presented here- that it is an international phenonema.


    1. Thank you Francesca, so happy I could take you back to this beautiful part of Ireland. It was very inspiring seeing a different type of food styling and when you saw the complete banquet table it was pretty impressive 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Next time I’ll come with you Moya, what you heard, what you saw, what you ate, all sounds like my kind of good time. You photographs are beautiful.


  3. So beautiful! 😍 Would love to see these in a Food and Tools coffee table book…


    1. It was Tandy, the scenery around Connemara is very beautiful. We enjoyed some of those delicious oysters and carb and of course the Irish fry for breakfast 🙂


  4. Oh Moya looks absolutely amazing. What a wonderful adventure you had in stunning Conemara. Can’t wait to go back some day soon. Beautiful beautiful pictures as usual.


    1. Thank you Caroline, you should go back to Connemara and maybe stay at the Ballynahinch Castle, the area is very beautiful indeed 🙂


  5. Hi Moya, sound like you had a great time. Love your pics. I can remember going to Connemara in search of the famous horse and scenery. We were lucky enough to experience both.


  6. Thanks Glenda I had a wonderful time. The horse… would it have been the one featured in a John Wayne and Maureen O’ Hara film the “Quiet Man” ?


    1. Sarah you never know, you might take the plunge and go on a photography retreat sometime… I hope you do. Thank you for stopping by 🙂


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