AN ordinary day in a County Limerick town has been vividly captured and recorded for posterity in a series of photographs by a group of young girls who are now preparing to exhibit the photographs under the apt title, A day in the life of Rathkeale.
The exhibition is the outcome of a project involving young people who use the Rathkeale Youth Space under the legacy Creative Ireland programme.
“A day in the life of Rathkeale began on an Autumn day in 2019, when a group of young girls from Rathkeale Youth Space ventured through the streets of their town with cameras,” said Monica Spencer, explaining the background to the project.
“Guided by photographer, Stephen Lappin, 20 girls took pictures of ordinary, everyday objects and activities in shops, on the streets and in the playground. The result is a collection of photographs that shows life in this West Limerick town through the eyes of some of its youngest citizens,” she continued.
“The images captured by the young girls might be viewed as ordinary by a passerby but, when viewed through the lens and the eye of a young photographer, become a work of art,” Monica added. “Collectively, the photographs present a visual, social commentary and capture a moment in time that will stand the test of time.
“This project is a collaboration between the Local Creative Youth Partnership (LCYP) and Rathkeale Youth Space,” explained Monica, who is the LCYP co-ordinator for Limerick and Clare. The LCYP (run by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board) is one of three pilot programmes initiated by Creative Ireland, as part of their ambitious, national Creative Youth programme.
Last summer, Monica began meeting children and young people in both Limerick and Clare, listening to them talk about the kinds of creative activity they enjoy, or would like to try out. At youth centres, youth cafés, training centres, youth arts organisation and schools, views were expressed and where viable, were put into action.
“A Day in the Life of Rathkeale, was one of the first projects to get off the ground through this consultative process,” Monica explained, adding that Lisa Quirke, manager of Rathkeale Youth Space was keen to expand and develop creative programmes with young people living in the area.
“We believe this visual documentation of some of Rathkeale’s landmarks and best-known characters will be of huge interest to the local community and to those with an interest in photography as well as in the social history of West Limerick,” Monica added.
Dr Sindy Joyce, who made her own bit of social history by becoming the first member of the Traveller community to be awarded a PhD, will officially open the exhibition.
A Day in the Life of Rathkeale will go on view at the Rathkeale Arts Centre next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, February 26, 27 and 28 from 10am to 5pm each day. All are welcome.
The young photographers have issued this message for the public: “We invite you to come to see our photos in the Rathkeale Arts Centre and we hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we enjoyed taking them.”
The Rathkeale Arts Centre is located above the library on the Ballingarry Road. It is wheelchair accessible.
Pictures captioned 1 to 5
1 The Rathkeale Racer is the title given to this photograph
2 Ellen Madigan and Eileen O’Shaughnessy at the local Vincent de Paul charity shop
3 An atmospheric shot of Danny’s Barber Shop in Rathkeale
4 The art-deco cinema, built and once owned by the Dinnage family, now lies empty
5 Timmy Shiels looks out on life from his hall door