This short film is about the Irish Headhunter, Charles R. Browne and a photographic archive that has remained hidden for over a century.

In 1891 Charles R. Browne and his colleagues went headhunting in the Aran Islands. They robbed the graves of dead islanders and took the heads of the living with a camera. The skulls were put in a display case in the Anthropological museum in Trinity College Dublin and the photographs were pasted into a series of albums, six of which survive and are held in the library of Trinity College Dublin. These men were scientists. They were based in Trinity and were searching for evolutionary traces that would reveal the origins of the Irish race. Haddon left in 1893 but Browne continued headhunting until 1900. During that time he 'surveyed' districts in Kerry, Connemara and Mayo, taking heads - living and dead - as he went.

60 of these photographs have gone on exhibition, probably the most important photographic archive to have been published in Ireland in a long time. Browne's survey of the communities living on the islands and remote headlands of the west of Ireland in the 1890s, the edge of the western world, is unmatched because of his attention to detail, his interest in physiognomy, his naming of subjects and, ultimately, his respect for the enduring western peasant.

The exhibition is on a national tour. This film is about one venue, Áras Éanna on the sourthern island of Inis Oírr / Inisheer.

This project is supported by the OPW (Office of Public works) and The Heritage Council.
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EYEBALL publishing

Ciarán Walsh / Plus

Independent film making from Kerry, Ireland.

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