Fields of Dreams

A photographer has captured Ireland's most stunning GAA fields

Football, hurling, camogie and ladies football games are photographed at all adult levels in every county.

gaelicfields / YouTube

A CORK CITY based photographer has spent the last seven years capturing the action of gaelic club games in their unique surroundings.

Paul Carroll has created a photography documentary entitled Gaelic Fields focusing on the backdrops of fields and grassroots games throughout every county in Ireland.

Starting the work in 2010 he travelled over 50,000km focusing exclusively on club games.

He is now running a Kickstarter campaign to turn the work into a photography book.

It features the beauty of games played on the fields of Aran and Inisturk Islands, South Kerry and the Glens of Antrim to the urban landscapes of Cork, Dublin and Belfast and scores of locations in between.

Belfast City, Co Antrim. A game in Belfast city. Paul Carroll Paul Carroll

Football, hurling, camogie and ladies football games are photographed at all adult levels in every county.

Carroll says he decided to tackle the project after being inspired by Dutch photographer Hans Van Der Meer’s work European Fields. Van Der Meer photographed grassroots soccer games throughout Europe over 10 years.

Lahardane Mchales v Ballina Stephenites A game in Mayo between Lahardane Mchales and Ballina Stephenites. Paul Carroll Paul Carroll

Carroll realised that Gaelic games had never been captured in this way in Ireland.

“We are often not mindful of what’s around us. We take for granted the amazing locations and beauty in every county on the island. We tend to romanticise and enjoy Ireland more when we are away.

The club is a local support system which accommodates all social levels in both urban and rural areas. During the seven-year period it took to create Gaelic Fields, clubs have withstood a recession and the mass emigration of many of its young players.

“It’s a vibrant and important grassroots movement. ”

The photography journey was funded by his work in two social care settings in Cork City, working with 18-25 year olds who are at risk of being homeless and as organiser of Cork’s Homeless Street League.

In his free time Carroll travelled more than the circumference of the earth within Ireland capturing Gaelic games and their locations.

Naomh Molaise Gaels v   Calry/St Joesphs A Sligo league game. Paul Carroll Paul Carroll

Carroll was greeted well but with interest on his journey.

“99 times out of 100 people were very nice, but wanted to know why a photographer had travelled from Cork to a Junior A football game in Dring, Co. Longford on a Thursday evening!”

On one of these trips he put down his camera for a team that was short a few players. He played one half of one game, scored a point and afterwards went to work a night-shift.

“For 30 minutes of a game I became part of my own project!”

The book is due to be released in late November.

Read: All of these amazing photos were taken on an iPhone

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