New York St Patrick’s Day Parade 2014 in Retrospect

New York St Patty's Day Parade with Irish and American flags

New York St Patty’s Day Parade with Irish and American flags

Happy St Patrick’s Day to everyone around the world today! This day last year I was in New York for St Patty’s Day as they call it over there. It was absolutely freezing. I could barely feel my fingers when using my camera that day! These are some of my favourite images, which I wanted to share in retrospect. That day I experienced one of the world’s largest and most famous parades.

Marching Brass Band Musicians pause to take a breath between tunes

Marching Brass Band Musicians pause to take a breath between tunes

By pure chance I met lots of Irish Americans including from the Donegal Association of New York, who had emigrated from small seaside townlands such as Kildoney in Donegal, only a few miles from my family farm in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Of course, in the typical Irish way…they knew my father! Like me, he’s a very friendly guy.

Joseph Duelk Jr. (John) of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, New York

Joseph Duelk Jr. (John) of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, New York

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a great St Patrick’s Day and if you’re in New York you might still be able to make it to see the parade in person. If not, you can always watch it in the comfort of your own home via links on the NBC New York website.

Lambeg Drummer, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Orange County New York

Lambeg Drummer, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Orange County New York

New York State Troopers

New York State Troopers

B.J. Murphy Irish American New York State Trooper

B.J. Murphy Irish American New York State Trooper

Irish American families sporting traditional Irish Aran knitwear jumpers

Irish American families sporting traditional Irish Aran knitwear jumpers

Irish American NYC Fire Department (FDNY) Piper

Irish American NYC Fire Department (FDNY) Piper

Me posing proudly with my neighbours from home, the President and Past Presidents of the New York Donegal Association - some of them new my father of course!

Me posing proudly with my neighbours from my homeland in Ireland, the President and Past Presidents of the New York Donegal Association – typically they new my father of course!

The beautiful Greek waitress who charmingly served me endless refills of coffee to allow me to warm up

The beautiful Greek waitress who charmingly served me endless refills of coffee to allow me to warm up

A retired Japanese Ad Man I met whilst warming up in a cafe

A retired Japanese Ad Man I met whilst warming up in a cafe

Brandon Stanton, the man behind the wonderful photography project Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton, the man behind the wonderful photography project Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton – Humans of New York

Irish Dancer in traditional costume

Irish Dancer in traditional costume

Irish Dancer

“When Irish eyes are smiling!” as the song goes!

US Coast Guard

US Coast Guard

Dillon Irish American US Coast Guard

Dillon Irish American US Coast Guard

Brandon Stanton "having mighty Craic" with a Piper

Brandon Stanton “having mighty Craic” with a Piper

Brandon Stanton "having mighty Craic" with a Piper

Brandon Stanton “having mighty Craic” with a Piper

Knights of Columbus Piper I

Knights of Columbus Piper 

Knights of Columbus Piper II

Knights of Columbus Drummer

The NYPD who I had great craic with both in Brooklyn and Manhattan!

The NYPD who I had also had great “Craic” with both in Brooklyn and Manhattan!

 

 

 

 

 

Double trouble...the lovely Emily and Hannah getting in the "Christmas Spirit" at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Christmas and New Year Season Highlights

Double trouble...the lovely Emily and Hannah getting in the "Christmas Spirit" at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Double trouble…the lovely Emily and Hannah getting in the “Christmas Spirit” at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Emily hopes she hasn't been to naughty for Santa to come this year.... in the "Christmas Spirit" at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Emily hopes she hasn’t been to naughty for Santa to come this year…. in the “Christmas Spirit” at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Is it a bird?, is it a plane?...no, it's a man dressed as in a mince pie Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Is it a bird?, is it a plane?…no, it’s a man dressed as in a mince pie Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Cracking Christmas jumper with detachable candy canes at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Cracking Christmas jumper with detachable candy canes at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Stylish Maternity Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Stylish Maternity Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

The magical lights of Christmas trees all around...I love spotting them as I travel around.

The magical lights of Christmas trees all around…I love spotting them as I travel around.

Christmas party with my highly cherished friends and family at Duran Duran, London

Christmas party with my highly cherished Duran Duran family/friends, London

Traditional Christmas Dinner....a veritable feast! Enough leftovers to last a large family a week! Duran, Duran, London

Traditional Christmas Dinner….a veritable feast! Enough leftovers to last a large family a week! Duran, Duran, London

Traditional homemade Sherry Trifle by the lovely Mairead, more desert than we knew what to do with! Duran Duran, London

Traditional homemade Sherry Trifle by the lovely Mairead, more desert than we knew what to do with! Duran Duran, London

Showing friends how to get into the "Christmas Spirit" by setting the Christmas pudding on fire with alcohol before eating it with custard, cream and repeated dollops of sinful yet delicious brandy butter,  Duran Duran, London

Showing friends how to get into the “Christmas Spirit” by setting the Christmas pudding on fire with alcohol before eating it with custard, cream and repeated dollops of sinful yet delicious brandy butter, Duran Duran, London

Secret Santa gifts including this fab "Murray Christmas" t-shirt displayed my it's proud new owner, my brother-in-law to be, Paul McCormack, Duran Duran, London

Secret Santa gifts including this fab “Murray Christmas” t-shirt displayed my it’s proud new owner, my brother-in-law to be, Paul McCormack, Duran Duran, London

Meeting Dave, co-founder of Brew By Numbers (BBNo.) in his rather jazzy Christmas cardigan...it must have been mating season for reindeer when this was knitted! Duran Duran, London

Meeting Dave, co-founder of Brew By Numbers (BBNo.) in his rather jazzy Christmas cardigan…it must have been mating season for reindeer when this was knitted! Duran Duran, London

Spanish and Italian influenced food at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Spanish and Italian influenced food at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Margherita Dell Piane, Queen of the Dancefloor, who won a ring in the first Christmas cracker she'd ever pulled, at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Margherita Dell Piane, Queen of the Dancefloor, who could’t believe it when she won a ring in the first Christmas cracker she’d ever pulled, at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Emma Pessato, Queen of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Emma Pessato, Queen of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Juan Rendon, King of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Juan Rendon, King of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Catching up with my old friend from agriculture college, John Graham, his wife Brid and their lovely new baby Judith, at their wonderful new business venture The Beehive Cafe, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Catching up with my old friend from agriculture college, John Graham, his wife Brid and their lovely new baby Judith, at their wonderful new business venture The Beehive Cafe, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Meeting Father Christmas in person and making his portrait...at Santatown, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Meeting Father Christmas in person and making his portrait…at Santatown, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Visiting the wonderful Goulden family and our grand aunt Ivy, who's still as bright as a spark at 90 years of age, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Visiting the wonderful Goulden family and our grandaunt Ivy, who’s still as bright as a spark at 90 years of age, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Christmas Lunch, Sunday 21st of December at The wonderful Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland...where we had a view of Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean whilst enjoying top notch great value food.

Christmas Lunch, Sunday 21st of December at The wonderful Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland…where we had a view of Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean whilst enjoying top notch great value food.

Post lunch Impromptu family portrait at The Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Post lunch Impromptu family portrait at The Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Santa is still coming to me bless him and me 35yrs old! I must be a VERY good boy ;) - Donegal, Ireland

Santa is still coming to me bless him and me 35yrs old! I must be a VERY good boy 😉 – Donegal, Ireland

My 96yr old Grandmother Eileen Black, Co. Sligo, Ireland

My 96yr old Grandmother Eileen Black, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Visiting old family friend Tommy Keirans, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Visiting a fine old family friend Tommy Keirans and chatting about his days farming, showing him photos and films of our brother Alasdair’s New Zealand farming practices, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Passing through the annual Boxing Day Hunt 2014 at Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, Ireland - I'm not pro hunting but I am highly intrigued by the traditions associated with hunting in terms of dress etc.

Passing through the annual Boxing Day Hunt 2014 at Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, Ireland – I’m not pro hunting but I am highly intrigued by the traditions associated with hunting in terms of dress etc.

New Year's Eve Fireworks all around the world bringing us from one year to another....I wish you health and happiness in 2015!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks all around the world bringing us from one year to another….I wish you health and happiness in 2015!

My good friends at The Beehive Cafe in Riverstown, Sligo, Ireland

John in action at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John in action at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

On the 14th of January 2013 I wrote a long and detailed blog post all about my friendship with the Tenacious JHCG (John Henry Coe Graham). I explained a little of how our lives have unfolded since we studied together at Greenmount Agriculture College in Northern Ireland, now part of Cafre (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise) from 1996-1999 (last century!).

The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John serves me my first delicious coffee with handmade chocolate brownie at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John went on to work as an agricultural policy advisor in Dublin, whilst managing farming in Sligo at the same time. He found the woman of his dreams Brid McNulty on a night out in Dublin. They bought a beautiful Sligo farm and house, married where Brid studied Trinity College Dublin and John had her picked up from the hotel for the wedding in an gigantic brand new Claas Tractor (which I had the honour of photographing!). They had their beautiful baby Judith and opened a fantastic new cafe called The Beehive, in Sligo Folk Park.

The Beehive Cappuccino  ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Cappuccino ©gavinfreeborn

Me photographing The Beehive © John Graham

                                  Me photographing The Beehive © John Graham

It was fantastic to see my old friend and we had a good laugh explaining to his local customers how we knew each other. It was hard for folk to believe that I, the gentleman photographer swinging the Canon 7D camera, dressed in tweed jacket & silk cravat, once studied agriculture with John almost 20 years ago! Two of John’s lovely customers Margaret and John, who farm sheep, suckler cows and the beautiful Connemara ponies in the Sligo mountains even posed for a quick portrait.

Sligo Farmers Margaret Finan & John Duignan at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

Sligo Farmers Margaret Finan & John Duignan at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John was in full flow as gracious host deftly moving from kitchen to front of house, hand making fresh scones and all sorts of delicious delights which I was lucky enough to taste test. The chocolate brownie is some of the best I’ve tasted on my travels as are the scones. Both have been created and baked to perfection resulting in a crunchy bite, followed by a soft centre of utter succulence!

The Beehive Handmade Chocolate Brownies ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Handmade Chocolate Brownies ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive handmade scones ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Handmade Scones ©gavinfreeborn

Their macaroons and christmas mince pies look so enticing too…

The Beehive Macaroons ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Macaroons ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Christmas Mince Pies ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Christmas Mince Pies ©gavinfreeborn

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Bec, Folk & Tea

Bec at RiverHawke Festival

Bec at RiverHawke Festival

One of my favourite little Australian sisters Bec, also known as Freeborn Exhibit B in my collection of wonderful people, is on this side of the equator, adventuring through Europe for a few months. I was thrilled to meet her in Dublin recently when we were both travelling in Ireland. Since so much of our friendship is based around folk music and tea drinking it was very fitting that we met at The Cobblestone traditional music pub in Smithfield, Dublin. I arrived to find Bec singing a cappella with the whole session enthralled by her beautiful voice.

I was then honoured to be able to play host to Bec in Brixton, London a few weeks ago and will be doing so again when she arrives back from her current European adventures. I will be making a portrait of Bec when she returns but I wanted to share this, one of my favourite portraits which I took when we were at RiverHawke Festival outside Sydney with friends a few years ago. What a weekend of fun that was!

I can’t wait to hear all about Bec’s adventures in Europe over a pot of something special from T2, the fantastic tea shop she worked in in Sydney for many years. Originally conceived in Melbourne there’s now one in Shoreditch, London, where we will be making a pilgrimage to upon her return. Bec also made me a great Spotify folk music playlist so that will work nicely and I’m hoping we can seek out a traditional Irish folk session in London too.

London Fashion Week Musings

Faye Dinsmore, London  ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

With the recent buzz of London Fashion Week I was inspired to share some portraits I made earlier this year. Faye Dinsmore, one of my neighbours from back home in Donegal, in the Irish countryside, dropped by for lunch one day last spring. She had flown over for modelling work, from Dublin, where she is based, after graduating there in French and Classics at Trinity College. Faye is on the books of agencies in London, Paris and Barcelona and is looked after by Distinct Model Management in Dublin. She also recently landed a contract at Ford Models agency in New York which has seen the likes of Elle Macpherson and David Gandy on it’s books.

Faye was interested to hear about my photojournalism travel blogging and I was in turn interested to hear about her life adventures. I wanted to take Faye somewhere authentic and chose one of my favourite cultural delights in Victoria, Costa Coffee Boutique. Far from the regular Costa Coffee chain outlet, when you step inside this cafe you genuinely feel as if you’ve been transported to 1980’s Italy with beautiful ornate tiling and a glass topped bar where you can view a selection of coffee beans whilst you sip on that perfect brew!

Fitting that it is, the owner and his wife emigrated to London in the 1980’s and have never looked back since. The owner’s manner is so charming, as he slowly potters around making your coffee and food with a relaxed latin style. In central London this is a real treat, considering most people move at breakneck speed! The original retro decor matches the ambience and flavour of this wonderful little haven of culture! It’s fair to say we had a grand ole time of it chatting at a rate of ninety whilst soaking in the sunshine on that crisp cool bright day. We’d both been in touch with each other’s lives from Facebook but there’s no substitute for conversing in person. True Irish craic! A term that I explained to the world last March on Humans of New York or HONY as it’s often referred to. More on that in another blog post soon.

Faye Dinsmore, London  ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

Coming from our respective family farms and ending up in the creative urban environment, Faye living in Dublin and me in London, through our creativity we have travelled the world, but our hearts will always have a place in Donegal. Both passionate about our homeland, we chatted about Ireland’s development over the past few decades. Most interestingly we’ve seen it evolve into the tech capital of Europe, with numerous international IT companies basing their European headquarters in Dublin, including Google, Facebook, Paypal, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, AOL and Twitter. Apple have their European HQ in Cork.

The existence and rapid growth of this industry has been one of Ireland’s major economic saving graces. Faye’s equally talented entrepreneurial fiance, Wicklow-born Paddy Cosgrave has brilliantly promoted Ireland through international networking. He is the man behind Europe’s top tech event Web Summit which brings over 20,000 of the international IT community to Dublin for a three day event. He also runs a more curated event for 200 guests called F.ounders, which brings the founders of major tech companies to an exclusive event which runs alongside the Summit. 

A lot was said in one lunch hour but of course we’re Irish so rapid conversation really wasn’t an issue for us. Faye and I are also both major fans of Irish craft especially Donegal tweed and woollen products. It’s refreshing that current fashion favors them considering the 70’s folk wear which has made a major return to the scene in the last few years alongside folk music. The international renowned Magee business is based only a few miles from our families home now run by Paddy Temple, who I photographed last summer at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

Faye Dinsmore, London   ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

On a recent trip home I visited Foxford Wollen Mills in Mayo, which has a fascinating history, started by a nun during famine times to help support the community. No matter how far we go from home it’s good to know that just like our old Italian friend, we will always value and celebrate the traditional roots we come from.

In a world of increasing consumerism and fast fashion I would encourage you to buy local products where possible. Most importantly buy good quality which will last and always recycle the clothes you no longer need as someone else will be glad to have them. As a child on the farm in 1980’s Ireland which was then a developing country, I certainly got excited when my older family members handed me down the clothes they grew out of…think local, think quality and think sustainability!

I made a few quick portraits of Faye at Chelsea College of Arts, coincidentally home of UAL’s TED (Textiles Environment Design)…experts and industry leaders in sustainable textile design.The first image was taken inside in the magical space that is the Old College Library. The building was previously the Royal Medical College built at the turn of the last century and opened in 1907. Considering Faye is usually seen on the cover of the Italian Vogue, Cosmopolitan and the likes it was really nice to make these natural portraits and see her pure Donegal beauty radiating on that crisp spring day. Later in summer the press reported that Faye and Paddy are so busy they hardly have time to make their wedding plans. Isn’t it great to see two such beacons of nouveau Ireland light shining out of the economy. I’m glad we got to catch up that day and who knows where in the world we’ll next cross paths!

Read more about London Fashion Week

Explore Donegal and Ireland

Follow Faye’s adventures on Instagram, Twitter and her blog

Follow Paddy on Twitter and read about the Web Summit and Founders

Shop at Magee or Foxford

Explore the Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh

Learn about Textiles Environment Design