This project is an insight on the forgotten community within the hills behind Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (now known as Loughmourne). This surrounding area and beneath what is now a large lake, was an ancient established community which largely relocated in 1702 with the later generations of this migration taking part in the American Revolution.
Some inhabitants did remain behind however and many years later in 1904, Martha Craig who was the daughter of John Craig and Mary Nelson, developed a theory that the earth was at the centre of a vortex, this theory was advocated by Albert Einstein and is a theory that still holds merit in science today. In the same year she set off on a journey to Labrador in Canada where she aimed to experience the Aurora Borealis from out in the wilderness. She then sailed 500miles down the coast to Hudson Bay where she hired two Montagnie Indians as her guides and they set off into the mountains. In the coming days she encountered a group of Naskapie Indians who also joined the ‘band’ and they travelled together. They were so amazed by the gramophone she carried, her intellect and her knowledge of the stars that they believed her to be a magician. As she was a scientist and not believing herself to be displaying magic, she taught the Indians how the gramophone worked and gifted it to them. In return they gave her the rights to a gold mine which they had denied to every European up to this point. The ultimate gift they gave her was making her a Naskopie Princess and renamed her ‘Ye-wa-go-no-nee, she used this title from that day onwards for all greetings, book publications and for everything in place of Martha Craig.
In the coming weeks they made it to a high mountain ridge and it was there she witnessed what she had left the remote settlement in Co. Antrim; the Aurora Borealis and took note on her experience there –
‘Suddenly above the rugged outline of the plateau a dark, semi-transparent cloud became manifest, from the outer edge of this cloud burst a wave of brilliant crimson light of semi-circular form. The appearance of this light was accompanied by a harmonious sound like the music of innumerable stringed instruments.
‘Ere this terrestrial music had died away a wave of brilliant rose light flashed upwards above the crimson. Higher and higher rose these successive waves of colour and crimson fading into pale rose and amethyst shot with exquisite tints of pale green and purple.
‘This upward rising of successive waves continued until the Aurora stretched from east to west, and reached from the earth to the zenith. Then from the outer edge of the dark disc flashed myriad swords of fire. Piercing the radiant waves of colour, they rose above them in glittering tongues of flame.
‘Their upward flashing was accompanied by a continuous crackling sound, which resembled somewhat an electrical storm. I waited on the lonely plateau till the light of the Aurora had faded. Only a few hours I had stood there, but in that short space of time I had seen an unmistakable proof that the planet on which we live is the centre of a vortex’, she said.
After this experience, Martha Craig travelled continually around Europe presenting her knowledge, theoretical discovery at Universities to expand the public insight into her theory, expand her contribution to poetry and to alternative medicine (likely learned from the Naskopie).
Today there is little left of this lost community, except the echoes of a distant past forgotten by time but remembered due to the people who emerged from this settlement, rarely when the lake drains of water, the cairns, foundations and ridges can be seen where the settlement used to sit. I have been photographing in this area for a long time and feel that these few images with the inclusion of the evocative prose I have included also will hopefully in partial, ring the echoes in the mind of the story deep within this area.
There are many thoughts and reasonings on the expanse of the community in these hills, but there is evidence of life here as far back as the Neolithic Era (around 10,000BC), these photographs are looking at life through the ages, not necessarily the Craig family alone, however, we are all specks of dust on this planet, so I feel personally that every inclusion has meaning.
Scene 1 –
… From high up in the mountains after a woman has decided to move onto a different walk in life…
Scene 2 –
…where there was a once a gate needed to contain, no longer holds restrictions on ones future…
Scene 3 –
…or to create a clearing and only leave the echo of this distant community, too much at stake, too much time to focus, or a scatter in the bigger picture of the importance of human life on the grains of time in which we represent…
Scene 4 –
…over the last few hundred years, how many sunrises were witnessed from this doorway and how many moments of life’s appreciation and acceptance of change, progress or decline were felt…
Scene 5 –
…and in the end, it is water which seems to have the greatest presence. Felt as a dampener on this island which has been inhabited beyond the Neolithic times, a neutralising force of reason, clearing the mind and soul that rarely slows or changes, moving onto distance shores with the dreams of achieving a higher sense of being.
Thanks for reading and any feedback or thoughts are much appreciated!