Saturday, February 18, 2017

My 1916

1916 Exhibition - Nightshot of Pearse St. Library
Click on any image for a larger version

I didn't set out to photograph 1916 in 2016 so all of these photos are opportunistic - a moment observed, a flash of inspiration, and CLICK.

When Michael Edwards set Remembering 1916 as the theme for this year's photo competition I wondered if I might have anything to enter. In fact an early version of the title (2016 remembering 1916) would have meant that any entry would have to have been taken in 2016. So I was scratching my head around the middle of the year and eventually identified the five shots below as being suitable. As it happens, they were all taken within that year and I ended up putting them in for the competition.

As you are not supposeed to put any writing on the picture mounts they are all anonymous as far as the adjudicator is concerned and the photo has to speak for itself.

So I thought I'd take the opportunity, now that the competition is over, to fill in a little of the background to the pictures.

Seomra 1916 - Coláiste Mhuire

This is the room in Parnell Square where nationalist leaders came together in September 1914 and decided to have a Rising. It was a broad decision in principle and the details were sketched in later over the course of the following year. The room was in what was then the headquarters of Conradh na Gaeilge, and it was both the library and the office of the Secretary General, Seán T Ó Ceallaigh.

The backstory is here.

The Foggy Dew - RHA

I am not an arty person and had never been inside the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). But I read in the Irish Times in January 2016 that there was a painting on show there of the RHA's old premises in Abbey Street on fire during the Rising.

I have an interest in the artist, Gordon Brewster, who lost two paintings in that fire and I got permission from Mick O'Dea, President of the RHA and the artist concerned, to go in and photograph the painting for a talk I was giving on Brewster.

Well, when I got in the door and saw the exhibition I was blown away.

The rest of the story is here.

Tarting Up - The Padraig Pearse Pub

I was heading into Pearse St. library one day when I saw the Padraig Pearse pub across the road in the course of being tarted up for the centenary year (better late than never). They were about three quarters of the way through the signage with one of Pearse's heads (the good side) still sitting on the ground waiting for a lift.

I wonder what Pearse would have thought of a pub being named after him just down the road from where he lived. Certainly in the few years run up to the Rising he was loudly proclaiming his denial of some of the pleasures of life, as here.

Two Volunteers - GPO

This pair caught my fancy passing the GPO one day. Two volunteers, one military, one social, the latter mopping up some of the mess not resolved since the Rising.

Who'd have thought the modern Irish State, a whole century on, would need soup kitchens for its poor and disinherited. Some shattered dream.

The GPO was restored but Irish society is still cracked down the middle and the soupers are still with us.

Clery's - O'Connell St.

Since I retired and started taking more photos around the city I'm inclined to look up more than I used to and it's amazing what you see sometimes.

On this occasion the flithered flag flying over Clery's really gave me a jolt. There is both cheek and negligence here, and that right across the road from the iconic GPO. Indeed, in its day Clery's was an icon in itself.

But this vista is a searing comment on what has not been achieved by the Rising or the State which followed it, when staff could be turfed out into the street while the moneybags scuttled off with pocketfulls of dosh gained from a disgraceful financial wheeze.

The tattered tricolour says it all.

So there you have it. Much to my surprise all five of the photos made it into the competition final in the individual (non photo club) category and Seomra 1916 came through as the overall category winner.

Thrilled I am.

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