Winner of RTÉ Eye on Nature 2023 photo competition revealed


A beautiful photograph of a rabbit licking its paw, taken by Daniel Meehan from Murroe in Co Limerick, was revealed as the winner of RTÉ’s Eye on Nature on Nationwide this evening.

Meehan’s photo was chosen from a shortlist of 10 finalists, who submitted their works in the hopes of scooping the grand prize.

Now in its third year, the competition, in association with RTÉ’s Nationwide, Mooney Goes Wild on RTÉ Radio 1 and the Office of Public Works (OPW), gives wildlife photographers across Ireland the opportunity to showcase their immense talent and showcase Ireland’s biodiversity and the beauty of the natural world around us.

Daniel Meehan with Derek Mooney.

Filmed at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, tonight’s Nationwide was presented by Anne Cassin and Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, during which they announced Daniel Meehan as the 2023 winner of the Eye on Nature trophy and a cash prize of €1,000.

Speaking on his win, Daniel, who works as a medical device engineer, said: “I’m stunned. The quality of the photographs in the final are unbelievable. I’m shocked and I can’t get my head around the fact that my photo has been chosen as the best one. When I look at the other photos they are works of art.”

He added: “I’ve been taking photos for the last six years, but I’ve only really gotten good since Covid when we were all locked up with nothing else to do.”

Nationwide presenters Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh and Anne Cassin with RTÉ Eye on Nature winner Daniel Meehan.

Daniel said that captured the winning photo last summer. “I was outside one morning close to my house. I was sitting in the shade, and I’d my camera on me. This rabbit didn’t seem to take much notice of me and started licking itself. It was a golden opportunity, and I took it. I took a lot of photos and that was the best of them.”

All 10 finalist photographs represent the rich natural heritage that Ireland has to offer, showcasing our island’s biodiversity.

Look back on the finalists below:

1. Petrica Bratila – ‘Mute Swan’ – Dublin (Cygnus olor)

Petrica is an amateur photographer from Romania, living in Dublin. He moved to Ireland in 2017 and has been taking wildlife photos for about three years. His favourite places to photograph wildlife are on the river Dodder and in Bushy Park, where this picture was captured. He feels so lucky to have both areas nearby. He entered the competition last year and was beyond thrilled to be a finalist in this year’s competition.

2. Edward W. Delaney – ‘Common Frog’ – Wexford (Loscán, Rana Temporaria)

Edward is an amateur photographer, taking photos for over 60 years. An Irish natural history photographer, based in New Ross, Co. Wexford, he always had a love for wildlife photography and his daughter Siobhan said when she was growing up, she could find him anywhere, most likely up a tree taking photos. He has given many talks at local schools in New Ross about wildlife to encourage young people to take up wildlife photography.

3. Andrew Malcolm – ‘Sabre Wasp’ – Waterford (Rhyssa persuasoria)

Andrew is an amateur photographer and works as a Forager who finds and eats healthy, local ingredients that grow in the wild. He comes from Lismore, Co Waterford. He lost several trees in his garden to a big storm in 2021. In August 2022 he found an incredible looking insect – called a Sabre wasp (rhyssa persuasoria). Andrew loves taking photos of Waterford wildlife of all sizes from insects to whales and everything in between.

4. Tristan Bane – ‘Red Fox’ – Antrim (Sionnach, Vulpes vulpes)

Tristan is a passionate amateur photographer who works in IT. He has been photographing a family of foxes that live behind his house for several years. He has watched the fox featured in his shortlisted photograph since he was a cub in 2020.

5. Karl Graef – ‘Badger’ Co Clare (Broc, Meles meles)

Karl is an amateur photographer for over 20 years with a special interest in wildlife and feels privileged to have beautiful wildlife and scenery on his doorstep in Meelick, Co Clare. He works as a machine operator; but loves the time he spends pursuing photography.

6. Paul Campbell – ‘Coot’ – Dublin (Fulica atra)

Paul is an amateur photographer and has been taking wildlife pictures for the last 5 years. Paul is over the moon to be a finalist in this year’s competition.

7. Thomas McDonnell – ‘Hare’ – Antrim (Lepus timidus)

Thomas has been taking photographs for on and off for about 35 years. He works as a maintenance man on his local ferry, and he is surrounded by beauty and nature all day long. Thomas has always had a huge passion for photography. He was shocked and delighted when he found out he was a finalist in this year’s competition. His favourite place to take photographs is in and around the beautiful Rathlin Island.

8. Philip Greaves – ‘Red Mason Bee’ – Clonmel, Tipperary (Osmia bicornis)

Philip has been taking wildlife pictures for over 45 years. He is originally from the UK and served in the Royal Air Force.His interest in photographing Solitary Bees came about during lockdown, he said he was in his garden one day and something small flew past him and he became fascinated which led him to macro photography and setting up bee hotels, which he now has several bee hotels around his garden.

9. Daniel Meehan – ‘Rabbit’, Co Limerick (Coínín Oryotolagus cuniculus)

Daniel is an amateur photographer with a passion for wildlife and where he lives in Limerick means he has beautiful countryside on his doorstep. He works as a Medical Device Engineer and loves the fact that his job and photography are both creative in diverse ways and he enjoys all aspects of them.

10. Ashling Byrne – ‘Fox’, Rathfarnham, Dublin (Sionnach, Vulpes vulpes)

Ashling is an extremely passionate wildlife amateur photographer who works for An Post. She loves pursuing her passion for wildlife photography. She likes to join the foxes in the early hours of sunrise to enjoy their company. Her photo happened by chance, as she waited to take the picture a jogger went past, and this is why the vixen has her ears pricked and is in her stance. Ashling was completely shocked when he learned she was a finalist and that this was a dream come true for her.