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My Own Story! ...Well some of it!



My name is Pat Kiely. I returned from England to live in Lismore, County Waterford about four years ago and I write the Waterford & County Newsletter for Local Ireland, and also work as a feature writer /photographer for a Co.Waterford newspaper.

As a child I became interested in photography at the age of eight, when I was given a B&W camera as a birthday present. Black & white photographs were not as trendy and arty f..ty in those days as people sometimes think they are today.

I used to wait ages for my photos to be developed, so after about a year I got so fed up waiting that I taught myself how to develop them myself.

By the age of sixteen I was quite an expert at still photography and decided to try my hand at cine filming. Unlike video which allows you to start again if you get it wrong, cine film was bought in little, vacuum sealed four minute rolls, without sound. When taken, the unexposed 8mm film had to be sent off for development to Kodak. The two weeks it took to come back seemed like forever.

Eventually a little yellow package would arrive back from Kodak, containing the film all neatly wound on a spool. To see the results, a screen had to be assembled and a projector plugged in and threaded, before the unedited masterpiece, which because of over eager camera movement, looked as if it had been shot from a roller coaster, could be viewed. If you had been successful you were rewarded with four minutes of vivid colour film. I wonder if the director of Titanic or Steven Spielburg started out the same way?

Some time between my cine filming and my next journey into photography, girls became a more stimulating pastime. I eventually married one of them, a girl called Brigid from Longford who used to hold my camera bag. Four children later my old hobby re- asserted itself and I joined an established camera club. Within three years I had won every competition and prize available and decided to move on.

Marina, my daughter was picked to star in a school play back in the 80s and having borrowed a video camera to record the event, I became interested in film making once again.

The headmaster of the school was so impressed when he saw the results the next day, he immediately went out and spent the school budget on some video equipment. By the late 80s I had taught enough people to drive cars and decided on the advice of a posh hippie pupil to sign on and claim dole for the first time in my life. On my fortieth birthday I sent back the car and bought an old bike. I then enrolled at the local Tech college to study video programme making.

Just as the two year course was ending I was offered a job in setting up a Community TV unit in Bath near Bristol.

At this new job at BCTV I tried my hand at editing, presenting, interviewing the famous and the not so famous, and at programme making. Eventually my life changed and so did my job.

In the mid-ninety's after a visit to war-torn Bosnia, I was asked to edit a video of a Prayer March I had attended in a little place called Medgugorje in Yugoslavia by some friends who used to organise Marian pigrimages to the village before the war started.

Medgugorje is a place where thousands of pilgrims have visited, since some young children claimed the Blessed Virgin has been appearing to them since the early 1980s. My friends wanted to raise money to buy for medicines to help the victims of the Bosnian war in Mostar which is only 10 miles from Medj. The film raised 15,000 and six months later I was asked to help deliver some of the medicines which were bought with this money. The journey to there took nearly three weeks travelling by road all across Europe and it was a thrilling but scary experience.

Photography didn't bring me back to live in Co.Waterford four years ago, but the scenery here is truly mind blowing. There is a picture at every turn of the road. Three years ago I was I was offered a job at the Lismore Heritage Centre, and in the summer I worked as a tour guide.

The work involved meeting people form all over the world everyday, a bit like the Internet really. Always carrying a camera paid off during the summer in 1998 when Fred Astaire's daughter paid us a visit. A picture that was taken and a story I wrote appeared on the front page of at least three newspapers.

I have moved on now from the Heritage Centre, and work full-time as a freelance writer and photographer and have been writing a weekly column called Kiely's Comments! in The Dungarvan Observer, a County Waterford newspaper for almost 18 months now.

God Bless, Pat.


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COPYRIGHT 1999-2000 All written work and images are copyright Pat Kiely........Lismore...Ireland. E-mail




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