Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Days 30-32

August 21, 2018

I was due to have another interview this evening, but once again it had to be postponed. Because of this, I had plenty of time to do the shop in Kilfenora and to document a famine wall in Carron soon afterwards. I had only been informed of this particular famine wall when I visited the Burren Life centre last week, as nobody else around the area had known of its existence. I had been able to talk to the landowner himself who said that although he wasn't 100% certain, he had always thought that the wall had been built during the famine because of its unusual 'zig-zag' construction. How the wall was built also contrasted with the walls of the surrounding area. The landowner kindly gave me permission to access it for my research, and I was given directions on where to turn off the main road.

 

 

 

I had already travelled along this road on my way to Noughaval a couple of weeks ago, and it wasn't long before I came across the cattle paddock that I had been instructed to turn off at. The landscape wasn't the easiest to traverse as many of the fields appeared to be used infrequently, resulting in them becoming completely overgrown in parts. Every few minutes I came across some sort of ruin that was now been engulfed by the undergrowth surrounding it, becoming one with the landscape. The route to the wall wasn't completely straightforward and I found myself having to zig-zag towards its location, climbing over multiple walls and gates in the process.

 

 

I eventually arrived at the wall in question, which wasn't too hard to spot. Standing at over 6-feet tall, it towered over the other walls that I had come across en route. Just to the south of the main construction was a smaller wall, built in exactly the same way and even had similar 90º turns as its larger counterpart. What made this wall particularly unusual was how short it was in length, almost ending before it had even begun. All signs pointed towards this also being a famine wall, with the OSI maps backing this up. It had been built in the middle of nowhere with no sign of any practical use, a characteristic that is quite common with these famine constructions. The zig-zag nature of the wall also made it highly unusual, as well as the fact that construction on it had obviously stopped abruptly. This used to happen when the funding for a Public Works Scheme construction had run out, resulting in many constructions being left incomplete.

 

After spending some time photographing and filming the area, I began to head back towards the village. As the route I had originally taken had lacked much direction, I soon became a bit disorientated (as can be seen from the map above). I ended up exiting the fields about a kilometre further down the main road, which I had found by making my way towards the pylons that ran alongside it. As I passed by the cattle paddock once more I noticed the construction of a new track taking place in the adjoining field, leaving yet another imprint on this peppered landscape.

 

 

 

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