THE OTHER SIDE / A WALK ALONG IRELAND'S BORDER
In the summer of 2017, I walked the length of Ireland’s 310-mile border. The journey took eighteen days. I went to document the border as I found it and to create a kind of visual testimony of the thing. I wanted to better understand this place in Ireland that that has always felt somewhat anonymous to me. The only rule I made for myself was to travel by foot the entire length and to stay as close to the imaginary line as possible. I wanted to get a sense of the place and provide the same through photographs. It was a walk of chance, to see what there was to see as I came upon it. I began by tracing and photographing every border crossing as I met them, but soon gave up on this task. The frontier rarely announced itself and much of the time I didn’t know which side of it I was on. I wandered in and out of it indiscriminately. The journey comprised of tranquil strolls down country lanes as well as giant steps through discarded rubbish on pathless motorways. It was one part lousy and one part transcendent. I was apprehensive about walking through an unfamiliar landscape with a complicated history. Walking from town to town with a long lens created suspicion in places and I was nervous of slowing cars and long stares. It was impossible for me to remain unnoticed along this border. People were always looking, watching and looking out of windows and in passing cars. They looked and I waved. I always waved. They've had enough outsiders wandering these roads over the years and I certainly didn’t want to stir the pot.
The landscape was mostly repetitive, occasionally sublime and often unpleasant. Fields of cows interspersed with brief forest and bog and village and town. I walked on and on, along motorways, main roads, dirt tracks and every so often through fields of monotonous grass. Only the furnishings and displays of floral curtains and bedding changed with each passing night. Some days I crossed the border eight or ten times, other days I flirted with it all day but never touched it. When not directly on top of the border, I was generally on one side of it. Along a border, there is always the other side.