We are
Where we are

Sometimes they move

When I was nine years old my family left Dublin for the Irish countryside. Not being Catholic made it difficult to fit in. My indifference towards football and hurling didn’t help either.

I was the only child of a mixed marriage, raised in a Christian home without denomination. I found a football team to “support” but the religious difference remained a popular subject. It wasn’t just comments by classmates; the Catholic statues, shrines and grottos that dot the Irish landscape drove it home too. They were everywhere: in schools and housing estates, at crossroads and train crossings, in the centre of town squares. Many of them dated from the Marian year of 1954, when effigies sprang up in honour of Mary, Patroness of Ireland. I found them intimidating but soon came my teens and with that more interesting concerns.

In 2009 I left Ireland for Berlin. I live in London now, but often go home, and over the past few years the statues, shrines and grottos have grabbed me afresh. The Irish landscape surrounding them has changed and they are less intimidating. With every return visit I bring my medium format film camera in the hope of finding a new one.

This book is a selection from an ongoing series entitled Sometimes They Move

Steve Ryan