A Cork-based photographer has spent the last seven years capturing images Gaelic club games in unique surroundings around Ireland for his work ‘Gaelic Fields’.
Paul Carroll has created a photography documentary focusing on the backdrops of fields and grassroots games throughout every county in Ireland. Starting the work in 2010, he travelled over 50,000km, focusing exclusively on club games.
He is now running a Kickstarter campaign to turn the project into a photography book. This ends at 6.15pm on Friday September 2 and Carroll hopes to have the books ready in November.
As this montage shows, his work features the beauty of games played all over the country - from the fields of Aran and Inishturk Islands, South Kerry and the Glens of Antrim to the urban landscapes of Cork, Dublin and Belfast and scores of locations in between.
"We Irish can take for granted the amazing locations and beauty in every county on the island. We tend to romanticise and enjoy Ireland more when we are away," Carroll said.
He set out to explore the different locations of Gaelic clubs and the identity they bring to communities. What he discovered will be common knowledge to people within small Gaelic games communities everywhere.
"The club is a local support system which accommodates all social levels in both urban and rural areas. During the seven year period it took to create ‘Gaelic Fields’, clubs have withstood a recession and the mass emigration of many of its young players. It's a vibrant and important grassroots movement."
Carroll was greeted well by most, but some were perplexed by his mission: "99 times out of 100 people were very nice, but wanted to know why a photographer had travelled from Cork to a Junior A football game in Dring, Co. Longford on a Thursday evening!"
On one of these trips he put down his camera for a team that was short a few players. He played one half of one game, scored a point and afterwards went to work a nightshift.
"For 30 minutes of a game I became part of my own project!"
The book is due to be released in late November. As part of the Kickstarter, people who pre-order/pledge to buy the book are encouraged to give their thoughts on what community, identity and their club mean to them. Some of these submissions will be used in the book.