by John Lalor
Ireland's archaeological monuments are evidence of a long and fascinating history. They are in a sense part of the very essence of the country, without which we would all be much the poorer.
There are over 145,000 known archaeological monuments across Ireland, representing more than 12,000 years of human settlement. These monuments are central to a sense of place for communities across the land, evidence of continuity and also change. Offering places of retreat, for quiet reflection and education, they also prompt questioning of a past which was at times conflicted in all its complexity of ancient tribalism, conquest and independence. Intertwined as it is with the landscapes in which it is built, this heritage inspires Irish art and culture, literature and language. Over the last 150 years, a thousand of these monuments have come into the care of the State.
The care of them is the responsibility of Ireland's Office of Public Works and National Monuments Service. Photographing of these monuments creates an important archival record of their survival, maintenance and conservation, while also monitoring their condition and recording damage due to erosion and extreme weather events. This collection of images taken by the Photographic Unit of the National Monuments Service allows an understanding of the work undertaken to conserve and maintain the monuments against the challenges they face. The images illustrate the value of modern photography in preserving records of the past, and in creating an archive of imagery at a particular point in time. The photographs in this book highlight the relationship between photography and heritage, capturing antiquity using the latest photographic technology.
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Date of Publication: 28/02/2023