Sunday, 27 February 2011


I am sitting to write this entry tonight after the count on election 2011 has given us an indication of how things are going to be in the next Dail.

The ruling Fianna Fáil party have suffered huge losses after two and a half years of blatantly ignoring the people and arrogantly making decisions that could only be justified by their wish to remain in power until the corner was turned. Right now it would appear that the corner is further away than it ever was and whoever forms the next government has a long struggle to get us anywhere near to that corner before the next election.

One person who could not wait around for the election or the turning of that corner is Darren Crook.
I met with Darren and his father Terry on Howth Harbour County Dublin. For me it is a very special place and once more my past overlapped with the wishes of my subjects to locate their shot at a location special to them. Knowing the area I knew exactly where Darren was talking about when he mentioned fishing with his father and I was excited that he might like to set things up on the huge curved terraced wall at the end of the pier.

Talking with his farther Terry it was very obvious that he was very sad to see his son, the second in a week , leave and go to Australia. I suppose that life is going to be a lot different for Terry and what remains of his family and they will dearly miss Darren and his brother Brian. However there is another side to this process and Darren was in contact with me after his departure to fill me in. Its obvious from his words that he is filled with hope for the future and a huge weight has been lifted from his shoulders, in Dublin he was a mechanic, in Australia he has started his working life picking fruit and has this to say.

"Me and my da used to fish Howth lots during the summer months, not as often as we used to in the last couple of years, we started doing more further afield, but we'd always get a least one session in Howth in the year. Definitely see myself fishing out in Howth again, don't ever see myself living in Ireland again especially after getting a taste for the lifestlye over here, but can't see myself going home to see my dad without throwing in the lines."

Thanks Darren hope it always sunny for you in Oz, and if Noreen Bowden and the good people at Global Irish have anything to do with it you might have a vote in the next general election without having to come home!!
Well done Mick Wallace and all the Independent voices who made it through the election process.
In another plus for this project the Belgian newspaper De Standaard Published 5 of this series today in their weekend magazine. I will put it up when I get a pdf next week!!
Or you can find a screen grab on my fb page

Hugh, Artur and Gemma where with me on this one and all work was completed with their usual efficiency. Big thanks as always to them.
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Thanks again

Friday, 25 February 2011


We wake up this morning to the possibility of change. That in itself is an enriching experience!
For too long I and others listened to the arrogant ones talk pure horse shite and at all times there was never anything we could do but suffer their over inflated egos and their empty words and hold firm until this day came.
When I go to the poll today it will be as a reactionary. I will not be voting for the person or persons I wish to see govern this country.(quite frankly we are stuffed for a few years yet)
I will be voting to remove the current regime(and its likes) full stop.
Hopefully over the next few years the events that conspired to mess up Irish life will be unpicked
and we can move forward unchained.
These feelings are shared by our latest sitters Linda dePaor and Philip Duggan
as they leave this country for pastures new with their young son Luca.

They are disillusioned about the way this place has been run and Linda (a solicitor),and Philip( a librarian)
see no great career prospects for themselves in the current climate. However they do have hopes of returning some time in the future to find all changed with prosperity and effective government in place.
Once again I applaud the actions of people like Linda and Philip as they move on into the unknown
with nothing but their ambition for a better life for themselves and Luca.
We shot this image just two nights ago in the dolly mount end of St Annes park A place dear to this family and only ten minutes from their now previous home.The exotic trees and strange root structures form a very powerful backdrop for this historic parting shot,and I thank the Guiness family for the fantastic planting that was their back garden back in the day!!
The set was very close to the road but it was very tricky as someone had driven a tractor through our exact tripod location that day.What a mess!!
We were joined on the shoot by Eve Irvine and Valerie Labonne from France 24 a French
The shoot will form part of a report to be aired next Monday night as a report on Ireland around the time of its election, another very exciting turn for the Leaving Dublin Project.
Hopefully this picture will also feature in a printed piece in a Belgian newspaper De Standaart (next Saturday) again to focus on the election story.
I really wish Philip, Linda and Luca the very best in their new home Australia and I hope the time they spend there is full of good experiences.
And indeed I hope our own little election story has a happy ending ,or at least a twist that was not predicted by those pollster types!!

Artur, Hugh and Mel were on hand once more to throw a light on this very dark place, so big thanks there.
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Wednesday, 23 February 2011


There is no doubt in my mind that there are several levels of need within our society at present.
But more and more I am coming across people who's need to subside far outweigh's their need to reside (here). This for me is very sad! but, I suppose we must take heart in the strength of the people leaving these shores, as they take with them a desire to succeed which will carry them through onto new levels of achievement.
Last week I met with Graham Ford, after much internet banter about locating his shot we finally agreed that, if open on the night Belgrave square Rathmines would be the place to shoot. Happily the gate I had used previously was still unlocked so we were in.

Here is what Graham had to say
" I worked in Dublin as a mortgage administrator, then as a legal assistant before finally being asked to work as assistant accountant, all at sub prime mortgage company in Clonskeagh. Every weekend my girlfriend and I would travel west to work the family farm, and get back to Ranelagh late on the Sunday night, before returning to work on Monday morning. Following the passing of my girlfriend's father, I was able to take voluntary redundancy and we moved to the west, where we ran the family farm for 2 years. With no pay however it was imperative that one of us found a job. My partner found work in Galway, but I had to look too, but there was nothing in the west. So I applied for a job in the UK, and got the position in horse racing, so I am moving from Ireland.
We are due to be married at the end of May this year, so it was a rush to finish all the organisation prior to the move as I'm unlikely to get back to Ireland now until the wedding.
It's a great shame to have to leave Ireland, especially when we should be living together and planning the future, but I have to go where the work is. It will put a huge strain on our relationship, but there is absolutely no chance of a decent job in Ireland at the moment.
The park in the picture is literally just across the road from where we lived in Charleston Road, and we would come over with chairs and food, to read or doze in the summer days and evenings after work. It's a special place to me and reminds me of a very happy time in my life.."
Artur and Mel were on hand to shunt us over the fence if needed,  but they settled on lighting this one up with their usual efficiency!
Big thanks to Graham who by now has taken up his post as Clerk of the scales with the British Racing Industry. Another job title to add to his already colourful career which includes Train Driver, Mortgage Administrator, Legal Assistant and Farmer.
Two days to the election here. Lets vote for change and try to resist being corralled by the pollsters!
Its time we all had a change! not just Graham!!

Today had a chat with FRANCE 24, for a piece on irish emigration from an election perspective airs next Monday.It was great to meet Eve Irvine (correspodent) and Valerie Labonne( producer/camera)

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Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Before I start this post I must take the chance to wish Dar Crook the very best in Australia and I hope its all going well for him there. Due to a slight tricky edit I've decided to finish his parting shot off when I am feeling a little more in control (maybe by the week-end).
So it would appear to me that The Bernard Shaw is a very special place in Dublin, so far I have photographed 3 of my shots in and around its location in Portabello in the heart of the Village quarter.
I photographed a very excited Gráinne O'Sullivan in the alley beside the pub. This laneway runs right around the pub and is filled with an ever changing feast of street art.

The reason for Gráinne's excitement was that the following day she was away to London for a new life.
She was inside in the Bernard Shaw having farewell drinks with some friends while myself Artur, Brian and Mel got set up outside.
Grainne got in touch with me after she had seen a piece on RTE news about the project.
She has been out of the country a couple of times and of late has been finding it hard to get work in her field. She is a very special person and took on the establishment when she co-produced the site count me with Cormac Flynn & Paul Dunbar, a guide to help people opt out of the Catholic Church, which was recently covered in the NewYorkTimes. So now she is off to London and appart from friends and family, I dont think she is going to miss Dublin life too much.
We have a lot of hard times ahead here and if she ever needs reminding of this its only a short one hours flight time away!!
Things are pretty awful approaching our elections as the media try very hard to push voters into one camp or another. My hopes for our election is that there is an overwhelming rejection of the establishment and the Irish voters push a lot of independent voices into the Dail (Parliament). Then, we can prove that we count and are pissed off with how we have been misrepresented, and we did not then, and don't now accept the lines we were and are now still being fed day after day after day.
Dutch T.V. just pushed out this piece and guess what it focuses on - the single biggest issue. Emigration.
Lets make our politicians pay at the ballot box for this and lets hope we can slow it down!!
Big thanks as always to Artur, Brian and Mel who lit up the art in style.
And indeed to Saskia and Peter for giving us a voice in Europe.
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Thursday, 10 February 2011


Well it's been a busy week or two.
Ever since the CBS network in the USA covered the work of the Lilliputian myself, Artur, Brian, Hugh, Gemma and Mel have been busy shooting one thing or another for the last five days.
All the organisation has been tricky with ten times the amount of emails to answer and send compared to normal times.
Its all been very exciting, a little tiring but the feeling I am getting is one of realisation that the "Leaving Dublin" project is starting to reach its objective of being representational of all of the various groups of people fleeing our shores this time around.
After local coverage on The National News, emails lined up a number of people from different age groups, professions and some family groups, so excitment is high for the nights ahead.
On Sunday last we braved the rains to go to Blackrock , Co Dublin, to meet Sarah Cowhey.

Sarah lived nearby for several years before leaving Ireland for New Zealand four years ago.
There Sarah completed studies in wildlife documentary making and has worked since on the production side of things.
Against advice she returned to Dublin five months ago and had no luck securing a job and she feels in the current climate her expertise is surplus to requirements. She returned to her familial home town of Limerick and spent some time with her family. Whilst there she had a Christmas seasonal job in the local Dunnes Stores, but no other employment.
So, she has made the decision to leave and return to New Zealand and seek work once more in her area of expertise. May we all join in wishing Sarah the best for her next spell away from home!
Luckily just before Sarah arrived on location the rain died away to a little trickle ensuring that our gear could cope without exploding!!
Big thanks to Artur and Hugh who's spirits never dampened on that very wet evening.
And also a big welcome to Eve Irvine from France 24 TV station who may be joining us on a shoot next week!!
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Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Its clear at this point that momentum is gathering around the Leaving Dublin project.
Over the last two weeks there has been a lot of publicity,heightened by a CBS news story and several online news stories and print media stories.
here are a list of some of these pieces
broad had a piece called The Exodus
the had a piece highlighting the CBS piece
And also had its own take on this project with a link to a youtube piece from my last post also had a short piece about the CBS story
Later in the week I had a call from a Sunday Tribune photographer and talked to a very nice journalist John Downes he interviewed me and did a very good piece last Sunday.
Next Up is the Six One news(its here now 18.25 into the bulletin) with big thanks to their video journalist Philip Bromwell
and a few seconds in a piece by Saskia Dekkers re the new wave of Irish emigration on Dutch public television.
Considering this work is still in progress, and therefor has no P.R. machine behind it, one can only be amazed at the level of media coverage to date.
There is no doubt that the subject matter is very current, but even still I was aghast to be half way up a mountain on a shoot with two national T.V. cameras pointing at me.
Also we were ten people, a little more than usual for a shoot that usually needs about five.
Our sitter this time was the very patient and graceful Claire Ryan.we met at the foot of the hills at the Yellow house in Rathfarnham she was there with a friend Arni Haraldsson who joined us as we drove in convoy up Stocking lane towards the car park in Killakee.