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With County Wicklow being the “Garden of Ireland”, it is not surprising to see ladybugs throughout the county. However, what is surprising is that they seem to thrive not just in gardens but equally well on the coast. And of course the best part about ladybugs (aside from them eating aphids) is that they make a good excuse to take some macro shots.

Wicklow Head

But first, let’s look at what this landscape looks like. This beach is near Wicklow Head, south of Wicklow Town. While some of the beaches we passed had sand, this one is of the pebble variety. What’s cool about these beaches is that the water naturally sorts the stones so that as you descend to the water, the stones get larger and larger.

Rocks at the edge of the Wicklow Coast

Here is a close-up of some of the stones along with decaying seaweed. It turns out that these pebble beaches were formed by glaciers that carried them off the mountains and into the sea.

Pebbles and seaweed

The larger rocks had really nice striations that looked like wood grain. My guess is that these are worn mica schists, although I didn’t verify it.

Wood imposter

And here is our friendly ladybug, roaming over the pebbles.

Ladybug on pebbles

Here’s another shot of the larger rocks at the water’s edge. I really enjoy the subtle color variation and the glossiness imparted by the waves.

Waves on rock

Black Castle

In Wicklow Town there are the remains of a castle built in the 12th Century. It is so old that it has stood as a ruin since the 14th Century. You can see the ruins on the hill overlooking the sea. I chanced upon a seal here, but unfortunately violated the number one rule of photography (always take your camera).

Black Castle

At the end of a concrete pier cum seawall stood a lighthouse. In the cracks of the wall were colonies of ladybugs. I never really thought of ladybugs as social insects, but here they are in groups with even little ones that look like babies.

Colony of ladybugs

Ladybug and lichen

Also growing on the walls were golden lichen that were as rich in color as the yolk of a duck egg. They seemed to thrive well in this environment as they formed quite large expanses over the concrete. The macro lens gives really nice texture, although admittedly the 10x distorted too much area around the focal point.

Sulphuric lichen

That’s it for County Wicklow. Up next is County Offaly, where I was on a mission to find bogs.