There is an undeniable sadness to Ireland. The history of the country is mired in despair. Littered across landscape are the ruins of celtic Christian abbeys, Norman castles, famine houses abandoned in the 1840s and more recent homes left during times of trouble.
I spent the month of May, 2011 out in the desolate uplands that mark the border between County Kerry and County Cork. Day after day crows swept across the windswept hills, their mournful, lonely cry echoing across the wilderness. Photographing the landscape became a way for me to connect with the spirit of the place.
It is hard to describe how I felt during this time. The landscape over there has a power, a potency and an energy that speaks of ancient despair and grief but also of something far deeper –there is a sense that the land is inhabited by a spirit as old as time – a vast and essentially unknowable spirit that transcends the limitations of human life spans. The ancient goddess Sheela still lives amongst the craggy rocks and misty mountains. The plaintive cry of the crows wheeling in the wind echo her cry.
Historically Ireland is a place people leave. This exodus continues today as the global economic crisis bites deeply into the Irish economy. Young people leave for America and Australia as soon they graduate. Others wish they could go. My own daughter is among them. Her vengeful ex-husband will not sign the papers for the children to come to Australia.
I pray for Ireland and all her people.