Mothers of Modern Ireland

A Return To Lily

22nd July 2008

We've been regrouping back at base the last couple of days, making sure the sturdy Audi isn't going to fall to pieces from under us on the N9. So we decided to put the down-time (Which includes finding more ladies, accommodation, funding etc etc) to good use by popping back to see the lady that started the quest: Mrs Lily Carew (& Sam the Jack Russell). DSC_2899.JPG Lily was in fine form again, which meant baking us ANOTHER apple pie and treating us once again to her wonderful anecdotes. Here's Lily's guide to getting rid of any drug dealers, if you should find your road the office of one: You wait until there's a couple of people around him and then start walking towards him but stop right in the middle of the road, looking back over your shoulder from time to time and then you shout: "Who's the new pusher?" When he looks bemused, follow this up. "Come on, you're just a little buyer, who's the pusher now?". When he starts getting annoyed at your questioning and asks you to come all the way over to him, tell him calmly that you would if it wasn't for the security camera over there. Once he has shot off like a bat out of hell, never to return again, retreat to your living room and enjoy some fresh apple pie. Yes, Lily did actually do that and it did actually work. I have been to galleries in London that have more uninteresting collections of photography than the beautiful shots Lily and her husband have captured over the years, so we were back not only to have a chin-wag with Lily, but also to scan as many of these priceless shots as possible. Some of them are staggeringly beautiful, reminding me again of the power of the frozen frame. Friends laughing, anonymous, silhouetted men jumping rocks 50 years ago, fragments of memories - a cat, an ornament's shadow, the bulbs of water clinging to a steamed-up windscreen; dead people gazing back at you wearing home-made clothes and thinking about people who are probably also long gone now. There's something so real when Lily picks up a photo of a bunch of youths all in a line, smiling, confident and youthful and saying "They are all dead now except for me..." And not in a sad way, a matter of fact way, this happens. I hope we can use Lily's photos in some larger way with this project, perhaps an exhibition alongside the final museum piece. I think it compliments what we're doing so well. Lily is a mother of modern Ireland and although we're scrambling up and down the country trying our hardest to find these fading dreams, and distill them on film, Lily has been distilling dreams every week of her life for the past 60 years. Lily and the cat. Lily Carew, c1945

- Tom