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The 33 photographs that took our breath away this year

From Leaving Certificate students to George Clooney, here are the most striking photographs from 2014.

GIVEN THAT THE number of photos being published every day has surged dramatically in recent years with the advent of the cameraphone and social media, picking the best of the year is always going to be difficult.

We’ve put together the most striking images of 2014, focusing on the ones that really took our breath away when we saw them.

Here’s what we came up with.

Note: some of these photographs contain graphic depictions of violence. 

Leaving Certificate results

Leaving Certificate student Adam Jenkins celebrates his results with his dad, Alby Jenkins, after he got the best results at his school. Adam attended Trinity Comprehensive in Ballymun, Dublin, where his dad was the caretaker. (Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Great Clock maintenance

A specialist team abseil down one of the four faces of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, often referred to as Big Ben. (Pic: Yui Mok/PA Wire)

Spain Financial Crisis

Tourists take a selfie as demonstrators set things on fire during a May Day rally in Barcelona, Spain. (Pic: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Australian Open Tennis

Flavia Pennetta of Italy bites the net in frustration during her fourth round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne. (Pic: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Spain San Fermin

People run away from a flaming fake bull during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

China Gymnastics Worlds

Switzerland’s Ilaria Kaeslin leaps from the uneven bars as she competes at the World Championships in China in October. (Pic: AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Police Shooting Missouri Why Ferguson

Police wearing riot gear walk towards a man with his hands raised in Ferguson, Missouri, amid protests in the wake of the death of Michael Brown. (Pic: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

YE Turkey Syria

The town of Kobani in Syria is hit by an airstrike from the US-led coalition. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Kosovo High Diving

Diver Sali Riza Grancina performs the winning jump from a 22-metre high bridge during the annual high diving competition near the town of Gjakova in Kosovo. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Mideast Israel Palestinians

A displaced Palestinian girl who lost a member of her family in an air attack cries at a hospital in the Gaza Strip during the summer. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

ohio-slaying-witness-recants-2-630x465

Kwame Ajamu cries as he is released from prison after spending 27 years in jail for a murder he never committed i nthe US. (Pic: Tony Dejak/PA)

Winter weather Jan 6th

People watch as enormous waves break on Porthcawl harbour in South Wales in January. (Pic: Ben Birchall/PA Wire) 

Russia Hailstorm Deaths

People run to shelter from a hailstorm on a beach at the Ob River in western Siberia, Russia, in July. (Pic: AP Photo/Nikita Dudnik)

AP10ThingsToSee - Liberia Ebola

9-year-old Nowa Paye is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of Ebola in a village some 40 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia. (Pic: Ap Photo/Jerome Delay)

Army medical training display

A medic and a trauma casualty actor have a break from a realistic medical training display exercise at Copehill Down, a village in England, before their brigade prepares for deployment to Afghanistan. (Pic: Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

Rwanda Genocide Anniversary

Bracelets, a watch, and other belongings of some of those who were slaughtered as they sought refuge inside a church are laid out on the altar as a memorial to the thousands who were killed during the genocide in Rwanda, on the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

YE Ukraine Protest

An man is engulfed in flames during clashes with riot police outside Ukraine’s parliament in Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

YE Medal of Honor

US soldier and recipient of the Medal of Honour Leroy Petry stands with his prosthetic hand over his heart during a ceremony in Washington DC in April. Petry lost his hand in 2008 while serving in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Ted S Warren)

YE Russia Space Station

An employee of the Russian Space Training Centre puts the space suits belonging to three astronauts on the washing line to dry. The astronauts were training to simulate a capsule landing on water near Moscow. (Pic: AP Photo/Alexander Xemlianichenko)

Refugee camp in Damascus, Syria

Palestinians line up for UN food parcels at the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus in February. (Pic: UNRWA)

California Daily Life

A jogger runs on top of the sculpture Wood Line by artist Andy Goldsworthy in San Francisco in January. (Pic: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

oct14poy_24

Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano flows into a garden. (Pic: US Geological Survey)

sep14poy_23

A woman hides on her roof after a burglar broke into her home in Los Angeles. A neighbour got this photograph of the intruder just feet away from her on the roof. (Pic: AP)

Brazil Daily Life

A sloth peaks out from behind a door in Brazil, close to one of the host towns for the 2014 World Cup. (AP Photo)

Commissioning Ceremonies for Army Officers

Newly appointed army officers celebrate graduating at the commissioning ceremony at the Curragh in January. (Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

YE Mideast Israel Palestinians

Smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Italy Clooney Wedding

The boat carrying actor George Clooney and lawyer Amal Alamuddin is surrounded by media and security on the Grand Canal in Venice (Pic: Luigi Costantini/AP)

giro-5-630x315

For one brief moment, Dublin girl Maggie O’Dwyer led the pack as the Giro d’Italia peloton cycled towards Malahide in May. Good work, kid. (Pic: Tony Kavanagh)

Gas explosions Destroyed Houses

Emergency services at the scene of a suspected gas explosion in Dublin’s north inner city in June. (Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

Autumn weather Oct 22nd 2014

Stags practice their rutting at dawn in Richmond Park, London. (Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)

YE Portugal Soccer Champions League Final

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is lifted into the air after his team won the Champions League final. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Evergreen Enterprise Alaska Whale Photo Gallery

A mother and daughter take a selfie as a bowhead whale is brought ashore in Barrow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Henry Shefflin places a hat on his sons Henry head

Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin places a hat on his son’s head after the All Ireland Senior Championship Final hurling replay at Croke Park in September. (Pic: James Crombie/INPHO)

Read: The 39 photographs that took our breath away this year > 

 

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