Vanishing Ireland

A chronicle of a rapidly disappearing world.


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Vanishing Ireland is a collection of portrait interviews looking at the dying ways and traditions of Irish life, taking us back to an Ireland virtually unrecognisable to today’s post-boom generation. Illustrated with over a hundred evocative and stunning photographs, we meet the people and customs that shaped the cultural identity of the Irish nation.

Through their own words and memories, fifty-four men and women transport us back in time when people lived off the land and sea, when music and storytelling were essential parts of life, when a person was defined by their trade.

Divided into five parts, Vanishing Ireland brings together stories from the children of the field, of the music, of the horse, of the trade and of the water. These are the people who lived through Ireland’s formative years. It tells of children harassed by the Black and Tans, of céilís in kitchens, and the rigours of working in the fields, of the wonder of electricity and the devastation of emigration.

From coalminers to saddlers, farmers to fishermen, along with horse dealers, publicans, housemaids and musicians – these remarkably poignant interviews and photographs, in their simplicity and honesty, will make you laugh and cry but, above all, will provide an invaluable chronicle that connects twenty-first century Ireland to a rapidly disappearing world.

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James Fennell & Turtle Bunbury