Mar 2007

Photolog: The Dublin Famine Memorial

I’ve not been online very much this week thanks to a combination of being out quite a lot, and my broadband connection acting a bit weird. That was as far as the tech support chappie managed to narrow things down… “you’re right,” he told me, “it does seem to be acting a bit weird”. Several ridiculously over-complicated router reconfigurations later, it seems to have stopped acting weird. Though neither the tech support chappie nor myself have any idea why. Half of me finds that infuriating. The other half finds it reassuringly arbitrary… a gentle reminder of the limits to our control.

The Famine Memorial

I took some photographs of the Famine Memorial (Rowan Gillespie – sculptor) when I was in town earlier in the week. I also tried to get some interesting ones of the Phil Lynott statue, but it was exactly the wrong time of day for that particular street and the light was completely crap. I’ll try again on a brighter day when it’s not all gloomy shades of grey. The photos of the Famine Memorial, though, have finally given me a reason to set up a Flickr account. And hopefully they’ll turn out to be the inaugural set in a continuing project of photographing some of Dublin’s more interesting landmarks.

Suggestions are more than welcome… natural landmarks, historical or cultural sites, whatever really… if there’s a place in Dublin that you’d like to see amateurishly rendered in pixels, then let me know what it is and I’ll do my best. Dublin is a compact city (leastways what has historically been “the city” is pretty compact… the recent suburban sprawl is a rather different story) and it’s a very old city. So you can hardly walk more than a few hundred metres in any direction without stumbling across something historically significant (even if it’s only the memorial to something ripped down in the name of urban regeneration).

Despite being surrounded by the shiny glass boxes of Dublin’s new financial centre, the Famine Memorial succeeds in being genuinely moving and — to a degree — quite haunting. Though the location… certainly during the daytime… makes it difficult for the atmosphere of the place to properly get under your skin. Transporting yourself back in your mind to the 1840s is hampered somewhat by the office blocks, traffic lights and passing cars. Nonetheless, while I was there, a group of about forty over-excited Spanish students came giggling along the quays. As they reached the statues, the sound of forty digital cameras with their exaggerated ‘snapping’ sound-effects could just be heard beneath the shouted conversation and laughter. By the end of two or three minutes photographing the memorial, though, the only sounds that could be heard were the cameras and the passing traffic. It’s a serious place that has a very real impact on the visitor.

I managed to get seven half-decent images from the large number I took… The Famine Memorial set. You can view the location on this map should you wish to visit the memorial yourself.

Posted in: Media » Photos