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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Day 42

For the final day of the field trip I cycled down to Ballyvaughan once more to document the famine wall there. The weather was due to be considerably more overcast than the previous day, so I thought I would have a better chance at getting the shot that I had envisioned. Although having prepared to stop en route to pump up my front tire, I was happily surprised to find that I didn't end up having the need to do so. I locked up my bike up in the same place as before, and made my way towards Newtown.

When I arrived at the site the sun was beaming down, with hardly a cloud in the sky. I feared the worst but decided to find a suitable viewpoint anyway, just in case the weather took a turn. Sure enough, the clouds soon started rolling in and I was soon able to get the shot. The weather also became ideal for the video footage that I had been planning on capturing, with the clouds moving slowly across the landscape and casting the wall in shadow from time to time.

The wall itself was unassuming, and blended into the landscape quite well. On closer inspection, the fact that it is a double wall made it stand out slightly from the various other walls that scale up the side of the mountain, as well as its unusually straight nature. The landowner suggested that many of these double walls were built around the area during the time of the famine, something that I will have to look into further. As can be seen below, the OSI maps confirm that this wall was indeed built between 1843 and 1887. It is located just south of the Lios na Ru (or Lissaroo), the nearby famine village.

As I was looking at the OSI maps on location, I searched for the road behind the Burren College of Art once more. As I have mentioned previously, I have met a couple of different people who have expressed their doubts over whether or not it was built as part of the Public Works Scheme during the famine. However, I have since recalled a conversation with a local historian who was the first person to tell me that it was indeed a famine road. In fact, this was the first construction that he pointed out to me upon hearing about my project. As Micky Vaughan was similarly emphatic about its validity, and as the OSI maps back up both their claims, I decided to document the road once more.

I had already photographed the road during my previous field trip, however I hadn't acquired any video footage of it as of yet. After finding a suitable location, I set up my tripod and proceeded to film. In the end I managed to get about 10-minutes of uninterrupted footage, as I was required to move all my equipment every time a car came along due to the narrow nature of the road. After multiple attempts I was eventually satisfied with what I had acquired, and began to make my way back to the research facility for the last time...until I inevitably return, of course.

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