@Killarneymam is an imagined instagram feed of photos that my mother Mary O’Brien might have created in the 1970s – had the internet, social media, and the smartphone existed. The narrative is constructed from a combination of 'snaps' from that period, from friends, family and others, alongside photographs that have been made by me, to reflect her life at that time.

Mary’s husband Bernie died suddenly in April 1970, leaving her a widow with two young children, myself aged five and my sister Eileen who was aged four. The following year Mary began operating a bed and breakfast during the summer months from our home in Killarney, Co.Kerry, Ireland. It cannot have been easy for her, despite the support, help, and constant presence in our lives of a wonderful network of extended family, friends and neighbours.

I have no memories of my mother holding a camera or ever taking a single photo. Perhaps because in those days the camera was usually seen as the preserve of the father in the house. Aside from formal photos of Holy Communions, confirmations etc. our family photos were usually taken by uncles, cousins, and even guests staying in the B&B.

As I imagine her instagram feed, I do have my doubts that mam - even if she were a busy young widow today - would ever have posted photographs from her daily life. However, she did love to keep in touch with friends and family, so this is how her shared world might have looked.

Photo credits: Bryan O'Brien, Eileen O'Brien, Carmel Cahill, Sean Kelly and the Kelly family, Joan McCarthy on behalf of the O'Briens of Firies, Eileen Creedon, Bro.Justin Kelly, Donál Whitty O'Sullivan, Enda Walshe, Killarney Down Memory Lane on Facebook, Gerard Quinn and family. Special thank you to Bart Horrigan and the Horrigan family for allowing me to photograph in the family home.

Mam kitchen for site.jpg