"Cottages of Quigley's Point" documents interventions in abandoned vernacular dwellings in my local area of County Donegal. In a landscape dominated by the legacy of the recent housing boom, the remains of these older cottages are easily found, down country lanes and hidden in clumps of trees. They are known in the community by the names of the families that last lived in them, whether these families still live in the area or have moved away. These lingering names reflect how personal histories linger in rural areas even as they remain part of contemporary life.

It is common to read images of derelict cottages in a nostalgic light, celebrating the simplicity of an older way of life with a romantic attachment to hearth and home. This romanticising tendency precludes the encountering of such spaces as they actually are, as part of the landscape as it is now. The interventions are intended as a fresh approach to subject matter that would otherwise be considered an evocation of the past. The addition of bright colors and movement situate the subject in the present, briefly reanimating it in the encounter, and marking exploration of this redundant yet accessible aspect of the locality.

My motive with this project is to disrupt rather than oppose traditional imagery of the Irish cottage, avoiding the dichotomy of the romanticized and the real. Rather, by interrupting the static interiors of these buildings, I add an active and particular dimension to this element of the rural landscape, pursuing a personal means of negotiating past and present in my local community.

—Jill Quigley

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