Tree, old graveyard, Ballycastle
The series takes its name from a prominent rock which sits in the natural harbour of Portacloy, in the remote North West of Ireland. The name, which is at least many centuries old, was given by local fishermen who knew that if they passed that point during stormy weather, they would make it to safety. It is a name which perfectly encapsulates the struggle between the sea, and those who live on this unforgiving coastline.
This series of images maps out the edges of the Northern Gaeltacht, the Irish speaking area of County Mayo in the North West of Ireland. These photographs show a largely empty moorland landscape bounded by a coastline of high cliffs, sea stacks and temperamental and unpredictable weather systems. Each location was chosen due to its history, with the images of sea-cliffs depicting the sites of many Bronze and Iron age promontory forts and settlements. The moors remain as desolate as when they were emptied of people by subsequent famine and clearances.
An area of outstanding natural beauty, the Gaeltacht came to the world’s attention as the site of the Corrib Gas Controversy, a plan to exploit large natural gas reserves off of the coast which resulted in confrontations between protesters and the Garda (The Irish Police). It is one of the last true wilderness areas in Western Europe.
The choice of the antique collodion process to depict these locations seems apt to help focus on events which are already fading from recent memory. These images are part of an ongoing project to document this area.