The Present, Past, Graduates Exhibition, Wandesford Quay Gallery CCAD CIT, Cork, November 2017

IMG_8887
ABANDONED WEST CORK SERIES, DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY ON LUSTRE ARCHIVAL PAPER, 11X16 INCHES, 2017

Artist Statement

The Goggin’s Hill Tunnel is the longest abandoned railway tunnel in Ireland measuring 906 yards in length, constructed between February 1850 and December 1851 by 300 men working day and night. It was once part of the Cork, Bandon, and South Coast Railway, in operation from 1851 and closing in 1961.
The presented photography works represent the infiltration of light and rainwater through one of the three ventilation shafts which were created to enable evacuation of steam and smoke from the steam locomotives of the time. These shafts have a chimney-like structure above ground to prevent cattle or objects falling through which helped to create the interesting light patterns as the daylight pierced the darkness of the tunnel.
I grew up in the locality of the Goggin’s Hill Tunnel and listening to stories of the West Cork railway. The popularity of cars and lorries led to the closure of the railway despite the protests of the people of Cork. Many parts of this feat of Victorian engineering still exist, dotted along the landscape and serving as present-day landmarks such as the magnificent Chetwynd Viaduct and the Halfway Viaduct.

Ciara Rodgers, November 2017