Observing Offaly – Veronica Nicholson
It gives us great pleasure to introduce this unique photo book project
commissioned by Offaly County Council under the Percent for Arts
Scheme, and photographed so sensitively by Veronica Nicholson between
2015 and 2016.
In this centenary year, we were keen to capture a visual proﬁle of Offaly at this
moment in time for future record. We are living through a rapidly changing
culture; already the Offaly of twenty—five years ago seems very different. The
technology, social practices, domestic customs or landscape we are so familiar
with today will seem dated or may have died out by the time today’s toddlers
This selection of photographs by Veronica Nicholson provides a Visual
deﬁnition of life in Offaly today. Offaly’s charm and distinctiveness resonates
innately throughout; these are photos of us, for us and for anyone who has
ever called Offaly home. There are layers of stories in almost every photo, from
the quite domestic or agricultural images, to the national events that impacted
on Offaly during the past year. The Marriage Referendum, the refugee crisis,
the ﬂooding of December 2015 and the centenary celebrations are all quietly
referenced, while local events such as the Croghan Hill pilgrimage on St
Patrick’s Day and Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival are captured, but with
an understated perspective.
Veronica travelled the length and breadth of Offaly for over a year; she
attended events, was invited into people’s homes, and through her lens she
found perspectives perhaps we didn’t even realise were there.
Above all else, this book shows us the extraordinary in the ordinary everyday
lives we lead in Offaly. The little things that we take for granted are revealed
as treasures to be cared for, and remind us that we should not overlook our
real assets: the people who live here today, those who have shaped our county
previously and the coming generations, who will provide their own inﬂuence
while hopefully safeguarding all that makes Offaly distinctive.