Responding to the Family Tree

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Responding to the Family Tree

This is a multi layered family history project based on my family tree and the memories of place of one extended Irish family. In this work I explore my family tree through photography, landscape and sound.

What makes this particular Irish family history interesting is the return to Ireland from America during a period of profound political change in the 1920s. There is also a cross-border dimension as our parents left one country (the United Kingdom) and returned to a partitioned Ireland. The research and visuals contribute to a more general discourse on Irish identity.

By speaking about one family there is a commonality of experience which many Irish families can relate to in Ireland, North and South of the border and amongst the Irish diaspora in America.

What we see here is a pattern of emigration from a rural and sublimely beautiful landscape to a major urban centre at the heart of the industrial development of America, and back again to a changed reality. The contrast is dramatic.