“Those faces. Differing ethnicities and ages. Single, couples, families. Determined, resigned, hopeful, fearful, joyful, insouciant, pensive, chirpy, devil-may-care, uncertain, angry. What do they have in common? In one sentence, they are about to leave”

Piaras Mac Éinrí


In 2010 David Monahan invited people emigrating from Dublin to participate in his Leaving Dublin project. Its success in articulating the feelings of the everyday losses and gains associated with emigration has led to the work being locally and internationally recognised. It is a significant artistic contribution to the conversation around the current wave of emigration from Ireland.

While shooting the series, Monahan developed relationships with his sitters which led him to further investigate the places they had left behind and the places they now inhabit. This investigation comes together now for the first time in book form under the title of On Leaving.

On Leaving features over 150 photographs in 3 series – Empty Spaces: Desolate dawn landscapes of locations sacred to the participants of the works; Leaving Dublin: a series of highly stylised night time portraits of single people, couples and families on the cusp of a major life changing move; and Visitation: a series of photographs made during visits to participants in their new homes.

The resonance created by the work is brought into sharper focus by a series of thoughtful essays and one of the contributors Dr. Jennifer Redmond, a participant of the project, will launch the book at The Gallery of Photography, at 6 pm on Nov 26th.


David Monahan is an artist/photographer from Dublin, Ireland. In the past he has worked as a photographer with the National Museum of Ireland, The National Library of Ireland and The National Photographic Archive. He has worked as tutor in the Gallery of Photography and the National College of Art and Design. Over the last five years his personal work has taken precedence over commercial activities. His work has been shown recently in Dublin, Tralee, Glenties and Melbourne, Australia. There are shows planned for Chicago, Washington DC and Reading, Pennsylvania in 2015-16.



Author: David Monahan
with Essays by Piaras Mac Éinrí, Noreen Bowden, Sarah Maria Griffin and Jennifer Redmond
Design: Niall McCormack
ISBN: 978-0-9569493-3-2
Format: Casebound, cloth-covered, 340 x 245mm, 170gsm paper
Extent: 304 pages with 156 photographs, 111 in full colour
Edition: 1500 copies
Limited Edition: 150 numbered copies in hand-built cloth-covered slipcase with a numbered photographic print from the Leaving Dublin series.
Weight: 2.5kg
Published: December 2014