© National Gallery of Ireland
Alen MacWeeney, Irish, b. 1939
Title: Boy with Cats, Dan Flynn with his Cats from 'Once upon a Time in Tallaght' Series
Date: 2003
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Image: 40.6 x 50.8 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2020
Object Number: NGI.2020.36
DescriptionPublished in 2011 in collaboration with writer, Mervyn Ennis, Once Upon a Time in Tallaght, is a collection of stories, poems and photographs about the life of the Travelling community in South Dublin County in the 1950s and ‘60s. Mervyn Ennis, a native of Ballymount and resident of Saggart, has had his poetry recognised in Irish and British awards and in Irish, British, Italian and Australian publications. Once Upon a Time in Tallaght marked his first venture into prose and is a tribute to the Travelling community at large, whose objectives he championed in the High Court and Supreme Court in the 1980s. In fact, he was the first social worker to accompany a Traveller delegation to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to articulate their case.
Mervyn says “During [the 1950s and early 60s] Travellers were the victims of much discrimination and poverty but despite this they have tremendous resilience and great can-do spirit – it is this humanity and spirituality that the book is trying to get in touch with”.

The book is illustrated with striking photographs by Alen MacWeeney.