Posted byConor Lynch
Posted on17th February 2017
Maybe it’s just the old softie in me but after my youngest son was in the hospital recently I’ve found myself looking back over some old photographs of both my boys. This is my eldest son Adam when his age was measured not in months, weeks or even days but in hours.
I’ve hiked the Galtee Mountains many times as up until recently I was living very close tho them. It was one of my favourite things about my old house, being able to see mountains from my bedroom window.
This was taken on Galteemore (mór mean big in Irish) as me and 2 friends were making our way up. These hills are very popular with hikers are there are a few parking areas dotted around the base and it’s easy to spend the day hiking and make it back to the car and home for a well-deserved dinner.
After taking a few shots I wandered over for a chat. I’ve been on hills up and down this country and hikers are always the same, always glad to stop for a chat even if it’s just an excuse to rest their legs for a minute or two. The people in the shot are from the Galtee Walking Club making their way home after an early start.
This is Oisín (Ush-een). He’s been a bit sick over the past week and things took a turn for the worse over the weekend. He got gastroenteritis and the poor thing couldn’t fight it off himself. I’ll spare you the details of that horrible virus but let’s just say there is a lot of cleaning up involved.
After a few trips to the doctor, they decided it was best to get the fluids into him through IV as he was getting more and more dehydrated. Nothing was staying down and he was only getting sicker. The IV fluids did the trick. After 4 hours he started to perk up and I was then able to slowly drip more fluids into his mouth while he slept.
He’s much better now, he’s at home with his mum getting lots of cuddles and all the Peppa Pig he wants. Just seeing this little fella in the hospital bed was heart breaking and I knew it was nothing serious. I could see other parents up there who’s children weren’t going to be let out anytime soon. My heart goes out to them, I don’t know how they do it.
On a different note, who the hell puts plaster cast down a sink?
I set out on Saturday afternoon to the town of Silvermines (no prizes how that town got its name) in North Co. Tipperary. I had been researching old mines in Ireland lately and was hoping to find one to get some moody images of, perhaps some old rusting equipment and the likes.
After a drive of around an hour I arrived in the town and was immediately struck by how quiet and empty it felt. Mining activity has long ceased and by the looks of things the town was left to ebb away as employment soon became scarce. Local tourist maps dotted here and there seemed to provide directions for no-one.
The first record of mining in the area is from 1289. Mining resumed in the 17th century and continued intermittently until 1874. Opencast mining began in 1963 and was also worked underground from 1968 to 1982. The mine closed in September 1992 leaving behind slag heaps visible for miles. I walked up to the artificial lake left behind by the miners and found myself unable to find any beauty in the place. All I could see for miles around were crumbling houses, ground so polluted it was rusting orange and the local village so void of traffic.
I decided I’d put on my documentary photographers hat and do a series of images on the local area. The series would be broken up into three parts, the first being the abandoned farm buildings presumably by locals leaving the land to seek their fortune in the mines. The second would be the pollution left when the mining companies leave and the third would be the homes left to crumble in the aftermath.
So, for part 1…
The old railway line linking Cork to Blackrock and onto Passage West was closed in the 1930’s. The rails of course are long gone, replaced by the noise of traffic passing on bridges overhead. One of the very few advantages of removing the rail network is we are now left with some decent walkways in the suburbs of the city. One of the better of these is what’s known as the Blackrock railway walk.
Many of the platforms and associated building still line the walkway but sadly most have now gone beyond repair, some are just single walls remaining. What decent buildings do remain have been used for commercial purposes and no longer resemble anything what they used to.
I’ve been on this walk numerous times and last weekend while walking through this tunnel section I saw it in a different light. I used to see this tunnel as nothing but a place where kids hang out, spray painting the walls, breaking bottles and generally messing up the place but this time I saw something different. In a strange way I thought it to be quite beautiful. The thought stayed with me for a few hours afterwards and I soon realised I was no longer seeing it as I always had, with a narrow minded view, but this time I was seeing it through the eyes of, dare I say it, a photographer.
As I pass by this place most days I dropping in yesterday evening just as people were heading home from work, I was on my way home from work too. The walk way was quite busy and a few minutes into snapping away an old man passed on his bike. happily, for me anyway, he took his time passing allowing me to get a few shots taken.
Things have been pretty busy in my world over the past 18 months and there are no prizes for guessing why after looking at this picture.
Things are finally settling into some sort of normality and sleep is no longer the hot commodity it was this time last year. When he first arrived I’d sometimes stroll around the house wondering where all his little stuff was supposed to go but it soon found a home (everywhere).
I think we’ve all settled down nicely now, he’s made himself at home…