Leaving Ireland. Leaving Eden.

“Those faces. Differing ethnicities and ages. Single, couples, families. Determined, resigned, hopeful, fearful, joyful, insouciant, pensive, chirpy, devil-may-care, uncertain, angry. What do they have in common?

In one sentence, they are about to leave.” *1


With over 80.000 people having left Ireland in the twelve months to April ’15, taking a chance in emigration is for many still the only way to go. David Monahan has been documenting Ireland’s renewed migration culture as a response to the economic crash since March 2010.

It started as a simple prospect, to make a dramatic parting shot for a relation who was leaving to go to Australia. It became a series of 84 late night, dark lit, theatrically staged and soulful portraits of those who were leaving Ireland to make better lives elsewhere (Leaving Dublin). A series of over 80 empty deserted landscapes at dawn, places held dear by those who left (A Survey for the Departed). Finally, over 60 rolls of black and white medium format portraits taken while visiting the project participants in their newly found homes around the world – from Auckland to San Francisco, from Toronto to São Paulo and across Europe (Visitation).

The three strands of this work are referred to collectively as On Leaving and are showing now at two locations in Raheny, Dublin 5, as part of the Window to Eden project. St. Monica’s Community Council Information Centre in Edenmore features a stunning and large scale portrait from Leaving Dublin. Raheny Library sets into scene the Visitation portraits taken by David around the world.

It’s been an absolute pleasure working with David on this dual exhibition, it’s theme resonates strongly within the Raheny / Edenmore communities. Please venture out to Raheny, stop by the exhibitions, drop into the library to browse through On Leaving the book; and of course, buy it here.

D Monaghan 8th Aut15

*1 Quoted from Piaras Mac Éinrí’s introductory essay in On Leaving.


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