As the face of Ireland to the world over, Dubin has the trappings of power, big business, government and national culture; Cork has the tallest and 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 (a native of Cork but settled in Dublin for many years now) allows his images to speak louder 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 and has not managed to reach the pride and elegance it enjoyed in the late eighteen century.
He brings to life churches, 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 are highlighted, along with numerous aspects of the Liffey and the Lee, the two beautiful rivers that are the pulse of the two great cities.
“Taking photographs for this book was a labour of love and re-exploring both my ‘homes’ was both a sentimental and an investigative journey. I hope the book helps [the reader] to better appreciate both Cork and Dublin for what they are – two complementary expressions of historical evolution and of Irishness.” – John Hall
About the Author
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.
Reviewed in The Irish Times (2010)