Dublin, being the capital of Ireland, has the trappings of power, big business, government and national culture.
Cork has the tallest building in Ireland, the longest building in Ireland, the best hurling, football and rugby players and road-bowlers – or so Cork people would have the rest of the world believe. No one outdoes Corkonians in independence of spirit or self-regard or in their loyalty to their native city.
In A Tale of Two Cities, photographer John Hall allows his images to speak more loudly than words, conjuring a rebel port in Munster, much of whose maritime greatness is in the past, and a capital city that was once the second city of a great empire and never again reached the pride and elegance of the late eighteen century. He brings to life churches and steeples, libraries and monuments that represent great Corkmen like Michael Collins and Tomás McCurtain on the one hand and national figures like Daniel O’Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell on the other. Clocks, banks, wharves, breweries and railway viaducts attract his attention, as well as numerous aspects of the Liffey and the Lee, the two beautiful rivers that are the pulse of the two great cities.
John Hall was born in Cork in 1959 and educated at UCC but left his native city many years ago. He lives in Dublin, with his wife Nicola, and children Lachlan, Alix and Robert.