Driving on a lonely road in West Cork on a cold April morning I find myself stopped for road works in the middle of nowhere. While waiting for the lights to turn green I contemplate if I should drive on as there is no cars about at this time of the morning. Then out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a chimney pot but I cannot see a house because of trees. I can see that slates are missing from the roof and the upstairs windows are open and it looks abandoned. Parking the car I walk down the lonely by-road until I reach the dwelling. The house is totally encircled by trees and as I make my way through the undergrowth I finally get to the front door that is slightly open. I enter cautiously; it is quite dark and it takes a while for my eyes to become adjusted.
The surrounding trees have cocooned the house and turned it into a time capsule and also protected it from passers by. Looking around I see a calendar on the wall which has a picture of Pope Paul VI dated 1977, the walls are painted in various bright colours, Pinks, Blues, and Yellows and when I entered into the kitchen there was this vibrant painted peeling green wall. In the center was a solid fuel stove and scattered around the floor were kettles, newspapers and a blue tin of Jacob’s Irish party biscuits decorated with shamrocks that now contained letters and bills, on top of the tin sat a snow globe. On the right hand side of the stove was a picture of “Our Lady of Perpetual Succour”, while on a window sill is a clock with its hands stopped at twenty one minutes past twelve and lying next to it was an Irish Sweepstakes ticket that could have changed someone’s life forever.
The Green Kitchen forms part of the series Ghosts of the Faithful Departed which looks at isolation and loneliness in rural Ireland set against a background of mass emigration. the photograph has been published in numerous publications and I also used it on the book cover for Ghosts of the Faithful Departed. The Irish Museum of Modern Art commissioned a bronze sculpture to be made of the photograph which turned out brilliant.