Beauty and the Beach

Liam MacNamara has been walking the shores of north Clare his entire live. From Fanore down as far as Quilty, there are few who know the Atlantic shoreline like him. In recent years he has began to collect and photograph some of the artifacts he find on the beach - and in his own way has turned his beach-combing into art. Andrew Hamilton finds out more.2016-07-16-16-40-20

It started as a way to make a little money, to gather old fishing tackle and nets off the rocky north Clare coast and sell them back to the fishermen who had just lost them. But years later, when all the fishermen had gone, Fanore man, Liam MacNamara continued to walk the shore.
Now he walks for pleasure and for art - and instead of fishing tackle he searches for treasure, and the beauty that is churned out when man made artifices meet nature in the great Atlantic Ocean.

2016-08-01-16-17-26 "I've always grown up by the sea. My father and my uncles were all into fishing. We would go down by the sea looking for the different things that got washed in - the metals balls and the nets and that and I'd sell it back to the local fisherman," says Liam.
"Over the years that collapsed, there is no fishermen left anymore really. The beach-combing developed from that over the years - from just having a walk along the sea and see what you'd find. You'd always find something.
2016-08-01-16-27-20-2 "I've always been into art and photography so it was a case of combining them both. There is an artistic side to everything that you find. We are surrounded by art. The whole place where we live is art - living up in North Clare, we're so lucky, it's fantastic.
"I don't really go out there looking for
specific things - just interesting stuff. You don't go looking 2016-09-26-16-13-40for a particular thing, there is no point. You'll never find what you want to find but you will always find something different and new."
Much of Liam's most beautiful and usual ima
ges come from industrial or man made material come into contact with some of the creatures and plant life in the ocean.  
"They are fantastic - the goose barnacles and the smaller acorn barnacles that grow on wood and plastic. That side of it is very intere2016-08-31-17-23-05sting. They make their home in these things. It is their floating home for their entire life - these barnacles that live there until they strand," said Liam.
"They change the things that the attract to, they change them from being industrial materials and make them into something else. You will also see normal pieces of plastic that start to break down in the ocean - they will start to breakdown into unusual shapes and take on a whole different character.2016-08-31-15-26-21
"You can do it all year around but especially when the wind is from the south west, because that pushed stuff ashore. We have an easterly wind at the moment - which is very poor beach-combing weather. After we have a story that is usually pretty good. A storm will bring in heavier stuff that normally wouldn't come in."
Earlier this year Liam began to share his photographs on his own beach-combing sire on Facebook. He has quickly being up a large and growing group of followers.
"I had it in my head to publicise if for a few years but I wasn't sure that anyone would never interested to be honest. In January of this year we had a terrible storm - when the wind blows here you don't get to sleep much because virtually the whole house shakes," he says.
I was awake that night so I figured I'd create the page and see what happens. It has been going great since them - people seem to really like it. It makes it more interesting for me as well, I can go out and I see these thinsg and
and I can show them to people and get feedback, which is great. It is nice when people ask you things and you are able to help them."

To view more of Liam’s photographs search for ‘Burren Shores – Beachcombing and more’ on facebook.



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