Photography spotlight: Richard Fitzgerald’s Dark Ireland
Waterford-born photographer Richard Fitzgerald brings together a remarkable collection of moody monochrome photographs, “revealing the dark underbelly of Irish rural life” in his book, Dark Ireland: Images of a Lost World.
For more than 40 years, Richard travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, recording
the beauty of the land and its people. His candid, striking images form a narrative thread with
the not-so-distant past and record unique aspects of Irish life that have almost disappeared. Influenced by a short poem of the same title by Patrick Kavanagh, the camera focuses on the back roads of the countryside, and records intimate moments of people in their cottages and farms. Nuns, Rosary-nights, confessions, coffins and currachs are captured, along with horse-fairs and peat harvesting.
Dark Ireland We are a dark people, Our eyes ever turned Inward Watching the liar who twists The hill-paths awry. Oh false fondler with what Was made lovely In a Garden! - Patrick Kavanagh
“My memories are steeped in Irish country life; I worked on the land before leaving my homeland, I ploughed fields, milked cows by hand, made haycocks, planted potatoes, and took horses to the forge. But all too soon it was over and I joined the ranks of thousands of other Irish emigrants bound for a new life abroad,” Richard says.
The photographer claims he was thrown out of Ireland at the age of 14, wrongly accused of stealing a bottle of lemonade. Since setting up his own studio in London, Richard has worked with various magazines and newspapers around the world. However, he has always held an
enduring love of his homeland and he continues to photograph Ireland to this day. He returns home to Tramore several times each year.
Through his enchanting photography, the dimly-lit rooms of Ireland prior to the arrival of electricity are eloquently remembered in his first-hand account of his childhood years; his early experiences observing light and shadow in a world illuminated by candle-light and oil-lamps are poignantly recalled in exquisite detail. The result is a unique album that is both compelling and graceful. Fitzgerald’s work is a fond tribute to an earthier time and place.
Click here for more information about Dark Ireland.