Andrew O’Connell is my name and I am a documentary photographer who hails from the community of St Teresa’s Gardens in the Liberties. My image, Field of Broken Dreams, is part of my archive #brokencommunities, which captures the loss and change of facilities in the Liberties area.
I grew up in the blocks of St Teresa’s Gardens, which backed onto the new Coombe Maternity Hospital and the Boys’ Brigade grounds, which was used for many Boys’ Brigade battalion events in its early period. Later, it was being sold to Dublin Corporation. It was the play space of my generation and older, the field of dreams of our youth, the place for battles, hideouts and drinking sessions at the weekend, where we grew up and learned to run hide and climb. It was also the home of many of my community’s greatest footballers, including the great St Teresa’s FC team of 81, which won the FAI junior cup. It was a carpet of green like the best carpet you’d find in the carpet mills on Thomas Street, long since gone as well. Now it’s a jungle.
My image captures the harshness of nature as it has reclaimed the space during 15 years of being uncared for while big developers argue over their future plans. A jungle waiting to be concreted over. What’s gone is lost forever. You can contact me through Facebook at St Teresa’s Gardens Folklore Project, on Instagram @libertiesphoto and through andrewboconnell.com.