Mairead Keating: The Boys of Barr na Sráide
“Where the Town climbs the Mountain and looks upon the Sea”
My name is Mairead Keating, and I am a 24 year old, Irish, Photography student. I am currently studying in the Edinburgh College of Art, at Edinburgh University, (First Year). I studied Interior Architecture for three years in Cork Institute of Technology and then pursued my passion by spending two years at St. John’s Central College, where I studied Photography at Fetac level, previous to my enrollment in Edinburgh.
I love to work with Black and White film, and the images I am presenting here are all scanned for 35mm and medium format negatives.
The project was based around life in South Kerry, Ireland, in particular, my hometown of Cahersiveen. I wanted to try to create a piece of work that documents small town life, friendships of youth, the people, the places, and the goings on. I would hope that the piece could stand the test of time and be something, which people could look back on ten years down the line and still appreciate.
I know that most of the work coming out of Ireland in the last ten to fifteen years has been in colour but I enjoy working in monochrome and it is something I think I will continue.
It is a piece of work I am looking forward to continuing as I truly enjoy it and I think it may be a piece that might never be finished. It’s my home, and I will always make images there.
The title is taken from a song written about the area, by Sigerson Clifford, called The Boys of Barr na Sraide.
The Boys of Barr na Sráide
O the town it climbs the mountain and looks upon the sea
In sleeping time or waking time ’tis there I long to be
To walk again that kindly street, the place I grew a man
With the boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren.
With cudgels stout we roamed about in search for the dreoilín.
We searched for birds in every furze from Letter to Dooneen.
We sang for joy beneath the sky; life held no print or plan
And we boys in Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren.
And when the hills were bleeding and the rifles were aflame
To the rebel homes of Kerry those Saxon strangers came
But the men who dared the Auxies and who fought the Black and Tans
Were the boys in Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren.
So here’s a toast to them tonight, those lads who laughed with me
By the groves of Carhan River or the slopes of Beenatee
John Dawley and Batt Andy and the Sheehans Con and Dan
And the boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren.
But now they toil on foreign soil where they have gone their way
Deep in the heart of London town or over in Broadway
And I am left to sing their deeds and to praise them while I can
Those boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren
And when the wheel of life runs down and when peace comes over me
Just lay me down in that old town between the hills and sea
For I’ll take my rest in those green fields the place my life began
Where the boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren.
Weekend portfolio selected by Jean-Luc Monterosso.