The moving land


In this volume of documentary photography by William Mundow, more than 50 black-and-white images of the West of Ireland from the 1960s are mirrored by the works of Irish poets chronicling the lost generations of Ireland. Themes of insularity, isolation and old age emerge from this haunting collection.

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This selection of documentary photography by Billy Mundow matches monochrome images of Ireland from the 1960s to the words of Irish poets, recalling lost generations. Themes of a vanished world spool through the pages, capturing the remote and sparsely populated West of Ireland and its islands – places of breathtaking beauty and tranquillity – the midlands and Dublin’s streetscapes.

Concentrating on portraiture and personality, the work follows in the footsteps of the late Bill Doyle. Scenes depicted in The Moving Land become less familiar as time passes, but the poetry paired with each image resonates and connects the viewer with a living heritage.

Poems by Gerald Dawe, Patrick Kavanagh, Richard Murphy, Eiléan Nì Chuilleanáin, Moya Cannon, Paul Durcan, Paul Muldoon, and the photographer, take the form of a dinnseanchas and feature throughout. Like a magic lantern, these images flicker from west to east, illuminating Inishbofin, County Galway; Tory Island, County Donegal; rural Ireland; and Dublin City.

‘Billy Mundow’s photographs were taken in the 1960s, in an Ireland that seems to us as archaic as Arcady. This Ireland is a place we recognize but no longer know. Perhaps on the western islands, or in the wilds of Connemara, something of the old world survives. But who now can remember a horse being led along a muddy lane with a sea wall on one side and cottages on the other? Which of us recalls the planter’s daughter wreathed in a headscarf and a smile? Where now are those two forlorn children glimpsed in a doorway one overcast evening? ? These photographs, Billy Mundow tells us, were taken on the fly, on the sly. This is how Cartier-Bresson worked, his Leica concealed in a pocket, watching for the moment when the wind swooped and the world’s skirts blew up.’ John Banville

Additional information

Weight 0.732 kg
Dimensions 24.5 × 19 × 1.6 cm










779.9941509046 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K


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