Dunlewey, Donegal

The Remains of Dunlewey Church, Donegal

1 min read

On Poison Glen, in the area of Gweedore lies Dunlewey Church, the ruin of the ‘Chapel of Ease to Tullaghabegley’. It is remarkable but this first sentence although sounding like the introduction to a CS Lewis novel is actually fact.

It was a bleak March and the Church ruin likes in the valley between two snow covered mountain lines. The church was built in 1853 by Jane Smith Russell who had the church built as a memorial to her husband, James Russell, landlord of the Dunlewey Estate, who died on 2nd September 1848.

Dunlewey Church Long Exposure

This is my favourite photograph of the visit. The light hit the front of the church at just the right time to offer a great sense of dynamic range.

There is still a grave yard around Dunlewey church which sits in contradiction to the “no camping” signs that adorn the main gate.

This image was captured with the Fujifilm X100s which is a remarkable camera. I will post more about the X100s in the weeks ahead but suffice to say I am hooked.

The scene fits perfectly like a scene in The Game of Thrones, the day was perfect with dark, threatening clouds across the backdrop of the black jagged, snow covered mountains.

It was possible to capture the mood of the scene but I thought that a few long exposure photographs bringing in the sky would add a greater sense of drama.

Dunlewey Church, Donegal

In 1955 the roof was removed for safety reasons, in 1987 the local community restored the floor and in 2005 after much fundraising additional restoration work was completed to protect the church.

The aim of the photographic series is to recreate the bleak, cold experience of being there. It is a scary location, uncomfortable and eerie. I’ve repeated the first image again to offer a better sense of scale and also a sharper rendition of the photo. I’ve been told that birds won’t fly around Dunlewey Church and I got a strong sense that could just be true.

The water in the Glen is undrinkable which supposedly dates back to a time when Irish rebels poisoned it in order to kill the horses of a battalion of the English army that had camped there. Hence the name Poison Glen.

Church by Flixelpix

All of the long exposure photographs were captured with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 14mm Fujinon lens.


David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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