Looking through the lens of great Irish past photographers is now possible thanks to the The National Library of Ireland. The Library has recently launched an online database of over 34,000 images portraying nearly one hundred years of Irish life. The National Library of Ireland holds the world’s largest collection of photographs relating to Ireland. Since 2007, the Library has been engaged in a major digitization project to increase online access to an extensive collection of rare and remarkable glass plate negatives.
Collections of photographs include images from Eason and Son, JJ Clarke, a Dublin Medical student, The Keogh brothers of Dorset Street, A.H. Poole of Waterford, Tempest collection, Louth, Independent Newspapers, Dublin, Lawrence Royal and Cabinet Collection and Studio Pair Collection. These unique images depict an unrivaled view of the topographical make up of the East and South of the country, Dublin City and Ireland’s Revolutionary period.
The director of the National Library of Ireland, Fiona Ross, states the “photographs are a rich source of primary research material and as a means of understanding and engaging with the past. They are invaluable because they provide us with evidence of places, events and people who shaped the nation, as well as providing insights into cultural and social history, politics, art landscape and natural history.” The photographs range from 1860 to 1954.
The database can be viewed and searched online at: http://digital.nli.ie/cdm4/index_glassplates.php?CISOROOT=/glassplates