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These haunting photos show the sites of apparitions across Ireland

The photographer travelled the country snapping the sites.

carns_sligo3 Carns, Sligo. Marian apparition: 1985

A YOUNG IRISH student who has been making waves in the photography world has travelled Ireland taking photos of sites of apparitions.

Andrew Nuding, a 22-year-old Fine Art Media student at NCAD, travelled around the country exploring the phenomenon of Marian apparitions. These occurred when people reported seeing the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary at a range of locations.

carns_sligo Carns, Sligo

The photos are now on show to the public as part of the NCAD Graduate Exhibition in Dublin.

Nuding has already worked with big name clients like American Apparel, Dazed and Confused, Absolut and Nixon, but this project is entirely different.

glencree_wicklow2 Glencree, Wicklow

He went on a pilgrimage of his own, visiting Wicklow, Waterford, Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Limerick and Cork.

There, he captured what remains of the shrines, showing that while these holy places still attract devout visitors, it is in much smaller numbers.

glencree_wicklow Glencree, Wicklow

Armed with a medium format film camera – which accounts for the beautiful dreamy tones to the photos – Nuding said he “arrived at each site with a distinct question in mind: Is its very existence a relic of the glory years of the Catholic Church in Ireland?”

Every road I took led me to the same stark truth: that these once congested symbols of faith have been largely forgotten with the decline of the Church’s influence.

ballinspittle-cork Ballinspittle, Cork

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Nuding said of the impetus to undertake the project:

It was a nostalgic thing – my parents would always bring us to grottos when we were younger. A lot of the time they are in out-of-the-way places.

mount-melleray_waterford3 Mount Melleray, Waterford

One stand-out location was the grotto on Valentia Island. “I really like exploring uncommon places in Ireland, as well,” said Nuding.

A lot of them, if you look them up, could be in the middle of nowhere.

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ballinspittle_cork3 Ballinspittle, Cork

The project was to be about “what Mary left behind”, but soon Nuding saw that there was even more to the sites.

kerrytown-donegal_09 Kerrytown, Co Donegal

There are so many traces of human life, there are prayer cards or pieces of cloth wrapped around bushes. But there’s never anyone there.
When I was doing the project, there might be one person over three hours that might visit. It was usually literally me and my camera.

kerrytown_donegal2 Kerrytown, Donegal

Knock, perhaps the most famous location, had “the least amount of character”, said Nuding, while in Kerrytown he discovered there is a communal house that has been transformed into a prayer centre.

knock_mayo4 Knock, Co Mayo

“It’s been really intriguing to see what happened. Even the stories – every different apparition site has a unique story,” he said.

Inchigeelagh004 Inchigeelagh

The 2015 graduate exhibitions will be open to the public until Sunday 21 June across NCAD’s campus at 100 Thomas Street, adjoining John Street West building, former Frawleys at 35 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, Emmet House, James’s Street and Steambox Gallery on School Street. Admission is free.

Read: Here’s what appeared to witnesses in Knock, 135 years ago today>

Read: How holy ‘apparitions’ pressed pause on War of Independence>

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