Lifestyle – Images of Ireland in the 1950s by Henry Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange and Robert Cresswell are currently on show at the National Museum at Collins Barracks. It’s a rare chance to see work from two of the 20th Century’s leading photographers alongside pictures of Kinvara taken by anthropologist Cresswell during a study of rural Ireland. Its Galway-based curator Fidelma Mullane tells JUDY MURPHY about the show.
The cheerful little boy standing in front of an upturned horse-cart is nonchalantly eating a slice of bread and jam, his appetite unaffected by the scene behind him of a pig being skinned after having its throat cut.
This colour photo isn’t from some far-flung country where slitting a pig’s throat is part of a ritual slaughter. It’s from Kinvara in the mid-1950s, when killing a pig in this fashion was normal part of rural life. This particular scene was captured by US anthropologist and photographer Robert Cresswell who conducted a major study of the area in 1955 and ’56.
The photo is on show in the National Museum in Collins Barracks, just a stone’s throw from Dublin’s Heuston Station, as part of a major exhibition Ireland in Focus: Photographing the 1950s.
This free show, curated by Galway-based cultural geographer Fidelma Mullane, also features 51 images by the world-renowned French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and work by US-born Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), who is best-known for her Great Depression images, taken in California in the 1930s. Lange visited County Clare in 1954 on a commission from Life Magazine, taking more than 2,400 pictures of the place and its community.
Lange and Cartier-Bresson were two of the world’s leading photographers, plying their trade when real skill was required to take and print photos.
Cresswell’s pictures, meanwhile, were taken for anthropological purposes and his images have a wonderful rawness and immediacy. Because his subjects are from Galway, his images are particularly fascinating for people from this part of the world.
This unique exhibition originated with Cartier-Bresson and Fidelma’s fascination with a photographer whose work was influenced by surrealism and who was a fan of James Joyce.
Cartier-Bresson had captured the liberation of Paris in 1945, and in 1947 he co-founded the renowned international co-operative, Magnum Photos.
He visited India in 1948 after its independence from Britain, to photograph this major transitional period. At that time, Mahatma Gandhi, who had led the independence movement, was on hunger strike in a bid to end violence between Muslims and Christians. Cartier-Bresson had exclusive access to him and captured the protest.
Then, Gandhi was assassinated and Cartier-Bresson’s photo-essay of his funeral became iconic, she explains.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Exploring the merits of moving into the west
Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.
“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.
These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.
But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.
Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.
One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.
The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.
They lifted and footed his turf.
John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.
He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.
“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.
Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!
“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.
Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.
They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.
Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.
After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.
“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”
But it could have all been so different.
Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.
She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.
Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.
Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.
Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.