Laytown photographer scoops award for cold snap

A Laytown photographer has been announced as one of the winners of the 12th Love Your Coast photography competition.

The Love Your Coast competition is an integral part of the Clean Coasts programme. Ireland has some of the most spectacular and diverse coastlines in the world. For the past 12 years, the ‘Love Your Coast’ competition has been about capturing the essence of the Irish coastline, its beauty, and its diverse character.

Dave Stanley's award winning image entitled Winter Sunset Swim was taken at Laytown Beach for the People and the Coast category in the Love Your Coast competition.

Stanley said when discussing his image;

"I hadn’t intended on photographing the swimmers on this icy cold January evening. But as I saw the camaraderie and support as they emerged from the water with the snow-capped Mourne Mountains in the background I quickly mounted the camera on the tripod. The image captures the tremendous bonds of friendship in the hardest of times. These sea maidens daily enchant the passers-by with their laughter and song."

Being Ireland’s foremost community-based coastal programme, Clean Coasts counts on the work of nearly 2,000 volunteer groups nationwide to help protect our coastline, waterways, seas, ocean, and marine life. Once more, Clean Coasts’ volunteers and groups have been eager to engage with us and support the fight against marine pollution. Clean Coasts mission is to foster pride in our coastline and waterways and each year the Love Your Coast competition is an opportunity to see this reflected in the entries.

For the Love Your Coast 2021 competition, almost 1,300 entries were received – the most entries the Love Your Coast competition has had to date.

The 50 best shots were shortlisted by the Love Your Coast judges for an online gallery. Declan Roche’s winning image from the Wildlife and Underwater category, entitled Let Me Out, was the overall winner for 2021 Love Your Coast photography competition.

Michael John O'Mahony, director of the Environmental Education Unit said: "This is the 12th year of the competition and it has been very successful and very well received and we have seen some of the most amazing photographs of our coast over the last number of years. This is more than just a photography competition: we are an island nation and our coast and marine environment are incredibly important to us. Clean Coasts has almost 2,000 volunteer groups who are doing amazing work when it comes to managing and protecting our marine environment, so these photographs are a way for everybody to appreciate and celebrate our coast and be inspired to get involved too."