Shane Lavalette

[Cattle Farmer, 2008]

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Sli na Boirne, 2008

C-prints, Dimensions Variable

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These photographs come from a larger body of work that I began during a residency on western cost of Ireland in the small town of Ballyvaughan, County Clare. The photographs were made along a walking trail called Slí na Boirne [The Burren Way], which stretches 27 miles through the heart of the Burren, one of the country’s most beautiful and unique landscapes. Its limestone escarpment, made by way of erosion and the scouring of successive glaciation periods, extends north from Corofin to Bell Harbour, west to Black Head and down to Doolin, where it dies away.

Covering the majority County Clare, the Burren is one of Ireland’s main tourist attractions as well as one of the country’s most important heritage assets. In recent years the area has been a topic of debate as the land faces the threat of being overgrown by plant life, in particular by hazel and blackthorn scrub. It has been reported that the growth of these two plants alone is increasing by almost 5% per year, which in time could turn the Burren into a forest-like landscape if action is not taken. For those who live there, the change in the landscape would represent something more: a loss of culture. With my photographs I hope ultimately to expose the meaning in the landscape of the Burren as well as the way in which the poetry of its people are reflected in it.

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