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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Day 41

Although I have documented all of the confirmed Public Works Scheme constructions that I have discovered so far around the area, I hadn't yet photographed the famine wall in Ballyvaughan during this field trip. The only images I have of the wall were taken back at the start of 2017 as part of my undergraduate degree, meaning that the resultant images look quite different to the images I've been taking over the last number of weeks. Furthermore, I had not yet taken any video footage of this particular construction. With all this in mind, I decided to head down to Ballyvaughan today to visit the site of the wall once more.

Upon arriving in Ballyvaughan I locked my bike outside the local shop and made my way to Newtown by foot, as it was only about a 30-minute walk away. This is where the landowner lived, whose permission I required to access the wall. Thankfully he remembered me from my previous visit, and kindly gave me permission to explore the area. He also informed me of another wall that one of his ancestors had helped to build during the famine, located next to the famine village (Lios na Ru) not far from his house. I took down his name and number (something that I had forgotten to do during my last visit), and made my way across a couple of fields to the abandoned village.

The village itself was buried in a small group of trees that stood out from the surrounding fields. Although completely overgrown, the constructions were relatively easy to access in comparison to the famine village in Kilnaboy. Out of all the famine-related sites that I have visited so far, this one affected me the most. Although the sun was beaming down, hardly any light made it through the thicket that I found myself in. Only foundation stones remained of the houses that once existed here, the walls and roofs of which were long gone. With that being said, it was clear to see where each building had once been, and I was amazed at how close together they all appeared to be. It was easy to imagine how close the community must have been that previously lived here. Walking around the site was an eerie experience, as it was impossible not to think of the unimaginable hardships that the residents here must have gone through only 170 years ago.

Unfortunately the clear skies persisted for the entire day, so I made do with shooting some footage inside the famine village with the hopes of returning to photograph the adjoining wall at some other point. When I arrived back in Ballyvaughan I noticed that my front wheel had gone completely flat. Thankfully it seemed to only be a slow puncture, and I was able to cycle back to the facility without any issue. I did have to stop and pump up the tyre a couple of times en route, but as I only have one more day of cycling this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

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