I love Christmas time. I love almost everything about it even the Christmas jumpers. I especially enjoy walking around Dublin city soaking up the festive atmosphere during December. The Christmas lights and decorations make the streets look really spectacular at night time. The lights along Grafton Street on Dublin’s South Side are particularly stunning and is here where I start this series of photographs of Dublin at Christmas.
1. Stephens Green Centre in Red
Aperture: f14 | Shutter Speed: 2 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 10 mm
A musician entertains the Christmas shoppers in front of the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. I love how the centre is lit up in red lights at Christmas. It contrasts beautifully with the deep blue of the evening sky. The current shopping centre occupies the site of the old Dandelion Market where U2 used to play. Every Dubliner insists they saw them play here before they were famous. Dublin had hipsters before it was thing. We’re like meta-hipsters.
2. Stephens Green Centre and Xmas Tree
Aperture: f14 | Shutter Speed: 1.6 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 10 mm
This next photo was taken a little further back on Grafton Street itself and includes the Christmas Tree in front of the entrance to Stephen’s Green. For any visitors to Dublin, Stephen’s Green is a little oasis of greenery in the heart of the city. It’s well worth taking a break from the shopping here for a pleasant stroll along its tree lined paths.
3. Nollaig Shona Duit on Grafton Street
Aperture: f14 | Shutter Speed: 2 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 28 mm
For any readers who didn’t experience the pleasures of the Irish education system, “Nollaig Shona Duit” means “Merry Christmas” in the Irish language. The next series of photos are all long exposure shots featuring the Christmas lights on Grafton Street. I found that black and white worked best for these photos. Cities at night are great subjects for monochrome photography.
4. Bewleys Café at Christmas
Aperture: f22 | Shutter Speed: 1.6 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 12 mm
Bewleys is another Dublin institution. I had many an Irish Breakfast there as a child on a Saturday morning while out shopping with the family. It was always a real treat to go to Bewley’s. This is one of my favourite Grafton Street shots. It’s one of those shots I had in mind long before I took it.
5. Brown Thomas Christmas Lights
Aperture: f13 | Shutter Speed: 2.5 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 16 mm
Brown Thomas is one of Dublin’s more luxurious stores. The exterior is always beautifully decorated at Christmas. You can just about make out the blurred figure of the dapper gentleman in the top hat at the front door who greets the shoppers as they enter the store.
6. Grafton Street Christmas Lights
Aperture: f10 | Shutter Speed: 2 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 40 mm
As with the previous few photos, I used a long exposure (2 seconds in this case) in order to create some motion blur of the people milling around the street. I find that this is a great way of capturing movement in an otherwise static image.
7. Johnsons Court at Christmas
Aperture: f22 | Shutter Speed: 10 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 20 mm
Johnsons Court is a narrow lane just off Grafton Street. While I was there, a young couple were looking at rings in a jewellery shop. Well to be more accurate, the young woman was admiring the rings. The poor young man looked terrified. I love the lights above the street.
8. GPO and Xmas Tree – O’Connell Street
Aperture: f14 | Shutter Speed: 10 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 10 mm
We move to the north side of the city for the next shot. The Christmas tree in front of the GPO is another Dublin fixture. For a while, the city council replaced the traditional tree with a modernist monstrosity that looked like a pile of glowing tennis balls! Thankfully after a few years, common sense prevailed and the traditional tree was restored.
9. Henry Street Christmas Lights
Aperture: f14 | Shutter Speed: 5 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 32 mm
Time for another Gaelic language lesson for our non Irish readers. Believe it or not “Baile Átha Cliath” simply means “Dublin” in Irish. The lights in this photo hang above Henry Street, Dublin’s other main shopping street.
10. Clerys at Christmas
Aperture: f14 | Shutter Speed: 4 sec | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 34 mm
We finish the series with another shot of the O’Connell Street Christmas tree, this time from the opposite side of the street. Sadly, Cleary’s department store in the background is sadly no longer in business. The giant ribbon on the front of the building always looked fantastic. Hopefully, it will reopen its doors in some new form soon.
Prints of all of these photos can be purchased from the online shop or by contacting me directly.
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