29 Sept 2022

Bridget Delaney's Normality photo collection launched in Newtown

Photographer Bridget Delaney launched her photography book Normality at Reidys Bar and the Skyfarmers Restaurant in Newtown on Friday. 

The book was launched by former Tipperary great, Donie Nealon.  

It features photographs from Bridget's collection from 2005 to 2019.

Bridget says the book is about people in Nenagh and North Tipperary living their lives without restrictions.  

"I think this will be a great reference for Nenagh district, basically North Tipperary and Tipperary people at large. I think it should stand the test of time," said Bridget. 

Bridget compiled the photographs into this book during the Covid-19 restrictions. 

All of the photographs were taken pre-pandemic, which Bridget says is important to reflect on in the context of Covid-19. 

"It's the story of everyday life, sporting life, good days, and bad days. There's funerals in it, weddings, happy days and occasions festivals, and it just portrays life as normal, and we did not see what was going to hit us pre-pandemic times.

All the people of the era, some of whom have passed on now, and we recall them. It's important that we think of the people before us because they never die if we recall and talk about them; if we keep them in our thoughts," said Bridget. 

Bridget couldn't work during the first lockdown because all of the events she would cover were cancelled.

Instead, she started a project to organise her photos which became this book. 

"And I was going through them and through the years, and I thought God there's a book in this, and that's what came out of it," said Bridget. 

The book has many highlights, from the cover featuring Billy Fitzpatrick fishing in Ballyartella to a charming image of Flan McLoughlin and his dog Sutty reading the Guardian. 

Reflecting on the book, Bridget said her highlights were the closure of Gough, O'Keeffe & Naughton, the freezing 2010 Youghalarra Christmas swim and the frozen lake at Dromineer the same year. 

"I said, never in my lifetime will I see this, and so off I went. I said I'm getting down there and taking pictures. There were plenty of people there, and next of all, the Guards arrived to pull people out who had gone too far.

Also, that year Tipp won the All Ireland and stopped Kilkenny for the drive for five and the cup was down in Youghalarra on Christmas morning because on Christmas eve, the organisers broke the ice and had a swim there Christmas morning almost every event was called off, but the hardy boys in Youghalarra went ahead with their annual swim. Events like that are very special," said Bridget.

Normality is dedicated to Bridget's parents Paddy and Peggy Delaney of Carrigtoher, Nenagh. 

Peggy Delaney inspired Bridget's love of photography by documenting their family growing up.

Bridget's second inspiration was her love of GAA and her role and PRO for Burgess GAA. 

"If you are covering an All Ireland Tipp is in, I'm going to be there anyway, and I don't want to be at the other end of the world when they are on, so the two tied in in harmony," said Bridget. 

Bridget says she had a wonderful team behind the book, which she would like to thank.

 Michael Hegarty, Moya Doohan, and Rachel Daly all helped put the book together, and Rosemary Joyce, who Bridget said helped "get the project over the line."

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