Ireland is my home but it is also the place I have left behind. Now that I have exiled myself from there I appreciate its quirks, its oddities and its unparalleled beauty. It is because of this too that I have come to realise the gravity of my disconnection from Ireland. I have realised it has many aws.
Dominated by con icting ideas and feelings, my love for home is often shrouded in a certain confusion that I cannot fathom, a bewilderment that I cannot put into words. I am constantly uncer- tain of whether or not I want to stay or if I want to go. I return for family, for friends, to revisit memories, to remind myself of the hills, the soil, the rocks, the trees. I leave for the hope and promise of richer, more progressive lands and the opportunities they offer and bring.
This is my ode to Ireland. The land of Saints, Scholars, of turmoil and troubles, the country of a thousand welcomes. A place that is goverened by tradition and a vast, turbulent history. A place where we speak in a language of self-deprecation and idioms. A place where music, art and expression is born. A place where I was born.
This is a story about me and my relationship with Ireland.
In January 2013, I was deeply unsatisfied and uninspired by my seemingly dull and small-minded home town located in the Irish south-west. I felt like there was nothing there for me and I was making plans to move to Scotland to study. I decided to start documenting my surroundings with 35mm colour negative, which at the time was something I did not understand or appreciate. The results surprised me as I found that there was indeed colour and beauty around me. I started to see the things around me in a new way. I slowly began to understand colour photography, and colours and light became prominent in my everyday life.
The title of the project comes from Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh's poem 'The Hospital'. The Hospital was written after the poet's stint with a life threatening illness. The illness and his time in the hospital marked a significant change in his life. His perspective shifted from being bleak, cynical and negative to something which can only described as bright, lifted, inspired and interested. Although our experiences were very different, I feel like the outcome was similar.
An edit of this work was exhibited in Cork, Ireland in mid 2013 with the title 'So Far Untitled' and alongside a quote from Kavanagh's poem:
"The inexhaustible adventure of a gravelled yard."
Since I have re-visited and re-edited the project, the title 'The Gravelled Yard' seems to be the only one that fits. Although it is on-going, this is the resolved edit for this stage of the project.
ʻHow Many Sleepsʼ is a visual documentation of the relationship between Molly, my little sister, and I. There are thirteen years, and now a sea, between us. I began the project in 2012, photographing the dynamic that we share as sisters. We are very close despite the age gap. She lives at home in Ireland with the rest of my family and the project represents the bond we share even though we do not get to see each other as often as we used to since I moved away.
“How many sleeps?” is something she asks whenever I am due to come home.