Interviewed by Patrick Gibbs / photos by Dorothy Hughes
Patrick: How long have you lived in the area?
Eileen: Eighty years.
Patrick: What’s a fond memory you have of living here?
Eileen: Growing up and going to school in the convent were good times, but the time I found a little auk on the lane was a particularly good moment. The bird was blown over during a storm and lived a few days eating sardines and waddling over to the fire. I wrote a letter to the Irish times wildlife man and he confirmed it was a little auk.
Patrick: Have you seen this community come back from hard times before?
Eileen: Yes, in emigration. I myself emigrated to America for 3 years but I came back to get married. It was tough because people left and we never saw them again, and all we had were letters.
Patrick: What are some things that have helped you through lockdown and what brings you joy?
Eileen: My family and friends could pick up a phone at any time just to give a call and say hello. So we may all thank our phones!
Patrick: What does community mean to you? What sort of things are you doing now to stay connected to your community and family?
Eileen: Community to me means friends and family. I am reading newspapers and shopping locally to stay connected to my community.
Patrick: What message do you want to share for yourself and this community in 10 years time?
Eileen: To stop remembering the bad times and to think of good things to come.
Patrick’s experience with the project: “A good experience to learn about the times before.”
Pictured below is Patrick’s creative response to his interview with Eileen – a sculpture of a little Auk on a branch! Also shown are photos from Eileen’s shoot with Dorothy.