Healy Byrne

I am a visual artist who works with lens-based and photographic media. My work takes on a storytelling element through a combination of still and moving imagery. I explore landscapes as an entry point to be explored and often I find the landscape to be an integral element of the topics I deal with. I am interested in the relationships between people and place, from agricultural contexts to tales of Irish folklore. Using photography and moving image, I tell stories that spans space and time, and consulting the past to find meaning within the present is an essential part of my practice.

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In the midst of a housing crisis, with rents soaring and the eviction ban lifted, Ireland is a country that has become uninhabitable. As a young person living at home, I cannot afford to move out and have, like many others, decided to emigrate in search of independence and a better quality of life. (re)rooting explores the feelings, often mournful, of having to uproot oneself. Through the careful sequencing of images from the farmland which has been in my family for generations, I am depicting the physical manifestations of my roots on home soil. By moving abroad, I am leaving behind a crucial part of my identity, which is my home and the farm I grew up on. Weaving these photographic fragments together is a process of abstraction, a way of exploring how it will be for me, temporally and spatially, in a new and unfamiliar landscape.


According to Irish folklore, tampering with ringforts was said to bring about terrible misfortune. For hundreds, if not thousands of years, these ringforts also known as fairy forts were avoided at all costs, and in essence, were protected by superstition. This deeply held fear of angering the fairies by tampering with ringforts has faded over time; it is greatly seen to be superstitious nonsense today as people believe folklore to be little more than myths and legends. The opposition of modern and ancient Ireland is most prominent with a ringfort intersected by the M18 which probes thought and discussion of the balance or lack thereof of the past, present, and future of our understanding and preservation of Irish culture.