Friday, August 10, 2012

Terraced Lives

Every so often, in fact, very often, I browse through the photographs I've taken over the years, and the ones that I linger over the most are those of my beloved hometown of Ringsend, Dublin.

This particular image I took of my avenue shortly before I left in the summer of 1969. As I stared intently at the houses facing onto one another, side by side in a straight row, they looked like dancers waiting for their musical cue to move forward. I believe houses hold memories. I tried to imagine how many family situations made their way through the wallpapered walls of the neighbouring houses, our neighbours on both sides were placid to the extreme.

As I'm fascinated by rooftops I'm so happy to have captured the avenue back at a time when huge TV aerials were essential if you wanted to view television channels from across the water, namely, the BBC and UTV. We didn't have one so made do with Radio Telefis Eireann, great programmes they were too!  Below are my few words of tribute to a time gone by.

Terraced Lives

Like stone-faced dancers
The houses face each other.
Conjoined bricks and mortar hold within them secrets of the dwellers
And, through faded creamy rosebud paper, sounds from distant rooms.
Like grotesque mosquitoes hung in time
Steel grey aerials stand tall against the darkened skyline,
Their rooftop vantage serving the human need to look beyond its own wretched life
Onto an imagined brighter landscape.

© Ann Brien 2012

Above image: Cambridge Avenue, Ringsend, Dublin taken by me, May 1969.



  1. Thank you so much AguiLeon for your comment. Yes indeed, it seems so long ago. The avenue hasn't really changed too much, apart from a lot more cars and no more old TV aerials! Even a few of my neighbours still live there! Cheers!!!

  2. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of a bit of "modern" history - I don't think I even knew that TV aerials were ever that large. They're ENORMOUS!

  3. You're welcome Lauren! Those aerials were indeed enormous. Often during a storm they would blow down or be left just dangling over the roof edge! As often happened, birds would perch on them in the evening which of course, affected the already dreadful reception. We didn't have one, just a set of the old "cat's ears" which meant we could only get our Irish one and only station! Those were the days. Cheers!!!