Stuart Franklin is a photographer who began his career with the Sygma agency and then joined the Magnum agency in 1985. A full member of Magnum since 1989, he served as the agency’s elected president between 2006 and 2009. His book of images about Europe’s changing landscape was published as Footprint: Our Landscape in Flux in 2008. (May 2019)

Follow Stuart Franklin on Twitter: @StuartAFranklin.

NYR DAILY

‘A Funeral Cry at Noon’: Louis MacNeice’s Carrickfergus Revisited

A shuttered credit union office in the town center, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, 2019

A few family mementos in the municipal museum are almost the extent of Louis MacNeice’s legacy here. No streets, pubs, or parks are named after the town’s best-known literary figure. Like many of the poorer regions of Northern Ireland, Carrickfergus today is in social and economic decline. Opportunities are so sparse that over the last two decades more than a quarter of the population has moved away. In the absence of meaningful jobs, mental health referrals and suicides have spiked. “The tragic irony of life in Northern Ireland today,” the journalist Lyra McKee, recently killed by Republican militants, wrote in 2016, “is that peace seems to have claimed more lives than war ever did.” The words with which MacNeice began his testament “Landscape of Childhood and Youth” seem to capture the mood: “In the beginning was the Irish rain.”