Donegal

A fresh beginning

The start of a brand new year always feels like the perfect time to make a positive change in our lives. It’s an opportunity to sweep away the cobwebs of the previous year and make a clean start for the year ahead.

When I look back on 2018, a year when my camera took me literally all over the world, I am left with a resounding sense of just how much we all have in common with each other, no matter where we are from.

Over the course of 2018, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the most incredible people, from New York to Tokyo, and pretty much everywhere between. What struck me most was that despite encountering so many incredibly different customs and languages, the aspirations of the people I met were often remarkably similar.

And yet, 2018 also feels like a year when division became a global reality. All around the world, people choose to turn their backs on their fellow human beings, often based on nothing more than where someone was born. Discussions of understanding and empathy have been replaced with talk of travel bans and walls.

But as we enter a brand new year, I can’t help but think it doesn’t have to be that way. Each of us can choose what type of world we want to live in.

Just as we can choose to ignore the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves, we can also choose not to. We can choose to stand by, or we can choose to make a difference, no matter how small that difference might be.

So as I look forward to the brand new year ahead, I choose it to be a year when I turn my back on division, rather than people. It will be a year when I refuse to allow others to tell me I should only care about those who speak the same language as I do, or follow the same religion, or same customs. It will be a year when I choose to make a difference.

Legacy

After her husband, James Russell, passed away in 1848, this is the church Jane Smith Russell had build in his memory. Standing high over the "Poison Glen" of Dunlewey, in Ireland's County Donegal, the church has long fallen into disrepair.

The roof was removed, for fear of it collapsing. The furniture long distributed to other churches across Ireland. And yet here it still stands, a cold, lonely testament to a family who once stood proud in the community within which it was built.

Bád Eddie

The stormy waters of the Irish sea have claimed more than their fair share of boats over the years, this being just one of the many wrecks to be found along the turbulent coastline of Ireland.

Originally known as the "Cara Na Mara", it was a simple fishing boat until it found itself in trouble one stormy night in the early 1970s. Run aground on a beach near Donegal, there it has remained ever since.

Today the locals call it the wreck of Bád Eddie, meaning “Eddie’s boat” in the Irish Gaelic language, named after the captain who abandoned it to its fate.

The wind, rain and tides have all taken their toll over the years, the boat now only a shell of its former self. But still it still stands proud, watching over the seas which claimed it.