Kieran Hayes Photography, Photographer Clonakilty, West Cork, Cork | Asylum's Return

Asylum's Return

March 29, 2016  •  5 Comments


Location St. Kevins abandoned Mental hospital, Cork.


We wanted to bring this buildings tragic story back into this modern world again, give the silenced a voice.


Countless lives having just been abandoned in here, in conditions that eventually led to it being shamefully shutdown.


From numerous articles I have read the capacity of this building seemed to continue to grow without any extensions or extra building work put in place. Reports of the finally capacity being over four times its original official size still send a shiver down my spine.

From locals you hear of the stories of the gates and railings being erected to just stop people from escaping and throwing themselves into the beautiful river Lee below to put it all to an end.

We had only one mission to tell a story.... this is how it unfolded.


I had a three people with me in the shape of two models Michelle and Paulina with our make-up artist Helena there for some special effects.


30 seconds after stepping foot inside you could already feel the energy oozing from the walls. Light leaking through the failing roof scattering shadows and shapes across the walls and the debris ridden floor adding to that the random sound of horses walking around outside. 

A real dark chill could be felt tickling through your clothes and slowly seeping deep down into you. If only these walls could speak they would probably scream a deafening cry for decades to come.


As we were getting ready I walked down to the end of the corridor (now sealed off) stood there in the dark and closed my eyes for one minute in an attempt to feel the mood of the building. As I walked back towards the light I constantly felt as though we were being watched and the cold seemed to be piercing through my normally warm jacket even faster.

We talked for a few minutes and tried different shots and angles but for me one really connected it told a story through the dark damp walls, the new concrete wall put in place as though to hide or seal this place off, the graffiti "end of the line" which probably sadly summed this building up for thousands of souls, Of course the fantastic model Michelle with her amazing flexibility pulling off a back bend while keeping a haunting look of despair on her face.

The entire mood of this image even down to the slight sign of daylight coming through the wall for me personally after having been there couldn't have been better. The enclosed space the haunting look on Michelle's face and the thick all surrounding feel of the walls and dense mood of this place.

While this Photograph might give the impression of a reasonably well lit area it was anything but that, after the flash fired you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.


I hope this image and the others we took help to give the people who spent their days in here a bit of a voice and maybe we can all take a moment and appreciate the health we have.


Electro shock treatment was mandatory and believed to be a cure. The idea of constantly increasing the dosage only served to fry the victims brain. Yes they were quite afterwards but were they now just screaming inside?


After the photoshoot we had a few amazing experiences from Paulina's photo which showed someone in a straight jacket at the end of the corridor to Michelle's car handbrake failing just after the driver said he didn't believe in Spirits or Ghosts.


This building still lives and breathes by all accounts, I hope one day it can rest.





Micky Smyth(non-registered)
Lovely shot Kieran I seen a shot before of the same hospital there was a face on the outside wall between two windows couldn't believe what I saw the person who took the photo went back took it again and there was no face very strange but true
Jay Flavin(non-registered)
I went to train as a psychiatric nurse in the 80's but left, because when I would raise concerns about how patients were treated,staff saw me as a threat and attempted to ridicule me and exclude me. In the end I left, because if I couldn't change things, I certainly wasn't going to collude with them.
Maureen Doherty Newell(non-registered)
Sad but true as a young girl growing up in Ireland i often heard storys about places like this which im sure they where plenty..horrific what people wher put through in years gone very sad ..thank you for your blog Kieran...
Kieran Hayes Photography, Photographer Clonakilty, West Cork, Cork
Very well said Paulina. Health is wealth my friend.
Very sad, but true. Couldn't put it in better words Kieran, the souls might never find peace in those walls but we all should appreciate we never experienced something as horrible as this. And horrible it's not even a good word, you won't know until you experience this feeling and coldness yourself.
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Hello and welcome to my photography blog.


Most of my blogs posts are based on my experiences with my photography equipment or little tips and tricks I have learned over the years.


Based in Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way my photography blog tends to focus on both how me and my equipment get really tested with the elements.


Clonakilty, West Cork is a photographers paradise and its one of the reasons I don't have to travel very far to get inspired.


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