Ireland – A Love Story

A Happy Man - Ireland EverIn the 60’s, I was living in London, singing for my supper.  I went over to Ireland for a traditional music festival, and was bowled over by the music.  I returned again in 1973 after I had at last found photography.  Pictures were my music now, and the camera was so much smaller than a guitar. Again I went to hear the music, and again I fell head over heels in love with the place and the people.  For a people are the place, even though the beauty of the land is astounding.

I loved the gentleness, the sweet shyness, the warm welcomes and farewells, the soda bread warm from the hearth, and always a sup to eat and drink.  Guinness fresh as mother’s milk, all the nutritional benefits of  dark amber whiskey. The pleasure they had in welcoming a stranger, who left a friend.

Each time I return I see the changes, the ugly noisy modern world , but  I seek out the old ways; people making their own music; the high art of conversation in a good pub.  Milk churns  driven by donkey cart to the dairy;  gathering the hay;  fair days in small towns.  These are mostly gone now, replaced by machines, co-ops and auctions

Each visit makes me more driven to record this traditional life.  Like those who collect stories from the shannachies, or storytellers, I am collecting moments.  For who will remember the old ways?

Jill Freedman - IrelandI think of my work in Ireland as a love poem: a celebration of the beauty of the land, the warmth of her people, the simplicity of the old ways and traditions, the humor and conviviality, the sharp wit and black moods, the kindness.

Today, our vision of that country is colored by the violence of the North or the visual cliches: freckled kids in Irish sweaters; all those green, green fields.  It is an older, gentler Ireland I am documenting, a wild and passionate beauty that I feel is the last place on earth.

I want to get it down now, while there are still people who remember a time that was, places that were, that will never be again.

Please visit my portfolio of Ireland photographs or my book Ireland Ever and share your stories and memories as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!



  1. Diana Marbury says:

    I came across a photo that you had taken of Peter. It was such a special picture that I looked to see if you were still doing photographs, and of course you are….beautiful work.

  2. matej says:

    I love this book Ireland Ever I bought it when I studied in Dublin and this book always bring to my mind a lot of great memories. a lot of thanx for this:)

  3. Iona Carroll says:

    I am a writer living in Scotland and I am launching my novel Crying Through the Wind set in postwar West of Ireland on June 17th. Your Irish photographs in your book Ireland – a love story provided me with the inspiration to get the book started. For this, I would like to acknowledge your work and photographs at my launch. Thank you for a wonderful book. My friend, Oliver Eade, a keen photographer and writer too first brought your book to my attention. Our two books will be launched together at Melrose, Scottish Borders. Kind regards.

  4. NOEL MCKERVEY says:

    Where can I get a copy of the photograph on page 32 of Jill Freedmans ‘Ireland Ever’. Its of the famous box player Joe Burke and friends at a session?

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