Michal Iwanowski Photographer

Fairy Forts

In october 2009, four photographers, supported by Wales Arts International, embarked on a road trip across Western Ireland in search of fairy forts - circular formations of trees and bushes that are believed to be the entrances to the other world: The world of the original inhabitants of ireland, the little people, the fairies, the druids, the arrray of creatures from before the colonial raids brought about the Irish kind as we know it.


In modern Ireland, those pagan formations have managed to hold a durable significance which is still rife in some areas, despite strong catholic affiliations. While visiting numerous sites and quizzing locals about their take on fairy forts, it became clear that many, some of them non-religious and sometimes of very scientific orientation, had a deeply ingrained fear of fairy forts and would never enter or intervene with one.


This fascinating phenomenon encouraged the four photographers to explore the mythology and symbolism that fairy forts continue to flaunt, in the hope of unearthing some truths related to religion, fanaticism, superstition and the human desire to ascribe significance to the intangible.


The artists started their journey in Limerick, from where they drove up to Westport, and ended up in a cottage near Boyle, where they spent a week, exploring the cottage's very own fairy fort that lies at the bottom of the back garden.


On the last night of the project, the 31st of October, one of two days in the year when the veil between the two worlds is believed to be the thinnest, the photographers ventured into the fairy fort with their cameras for the last time.


For more examples of  the photographic work that was made during the fortnight in Ireland, go to www.fairyfortproject.com