From the Pope to a Flat White: Ireland from 1979 to 2019

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


In 1979 Martin Parr moved to Country Leitrim in Ireland with his wife, where he photographed intensely for two years across the country. For four decades he returned regularly, observing and recording the profound changes Ireland’s socio-cultural landscape was experiencing. This 40-year project visually captures change within a country that, when Parr first lived there, was a religious stronghold for the Catholic church and in the midst of political turmoil. Substantial changes can be understood as the project evolved –as Parr photographed the Irish people themselves, their cultural interests and the new developments in housing and retail infrastructure that Parr recognised were factors that substantially influenced the cultural landscape. Tens of thousands of photographs were taken to record these changes, before being curated into this volume for the first time. Beginning with the largest ever public event in Ireland (1979), in which two thirds of Ireland population congregated to hear the Pope speak about not giving into temptation, Parr explores the religious rituals and pilgrimage-based locations at Croagh Patrick and Holy wells across Ireland. In early 80s he observes the mass-construction of bungalows as rural building incentives became common and real estate sale events were familiar. The economic transformation grew further with the emergence of the Celtic Tiger in the 1990’s and 2000’s bringing unprecedented technological and commercial growth and Dublin’s elevation to a prime city for international businesses to locate. Parr’s photographs note the waning religious dominance in a series that places Ireland amongst the most progressive of nations. The inclusion of a Gay Wedding in Dublin (2019), which Parr views as the definitive personification of Ireland’s transformation, complements photographs made at rural events four decades when the photographer photographed young couples at weekend dances and affirms the range and depth of this unparalleled research about modern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNY, USA
Number of pages128
ISBN (Print)9788862087292
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Sept 2020


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  • Welcome to Belfast

    Parr, M., 14 Oct 2016

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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