Tag Archives: 1916

Ireland’s History Through a Lens

National Library of Ireland

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:

Countess Markievicz. Keogh Collection

Pope Pius XII meeting Bishop McQuaid, Archbishop of Ireland. Independent Newspapers Collection

Colosuem Theatre, Henry Street, 1916. Independent Newspapers Collections


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Buried Treasure!……in Templebar.

Working in Dublin City Centre, I often find myself passing a dreary lunch hour (it is January after all and currently resembling a scene from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road) browsing around different book shops in town. While all the usual big names and established stores are fine, especially when I am armed with vouchers from Christmas!, It’s well worth checking out charity bookshops. A particular favourite is the Oxfam bookshop on Parliament Street, just off Templebar.

It really is well organised and well stocked and is mercifully all arranged which eliminates the rummaging through piles of rubbish which other stalls and shops have. I have found plenty of great reads for a couple of euro that otherwise I would be shelling out a hell of a lot more for. The real beauty of these shops is that not only are you doing your good deed for the day but also getting something back other that good karma!

Also, you just never know what you will find. In that shop on Parliament Street alone I have bought for just over 50 euro the Collected Works of Padraic Pearse  – Complete Political Speeches  and the Collected Plays, Poems and Stories. Even as a student I could never afford to buy these volumes, if I was lucky enough to even find them! A couple of editions are currently for sale online for about 200-250 euro

With the centenary anniversary of the Easter Rising fast approaching, these and all 1916 material will skyrocket in value. Just look at the items sold at the Adams’ Independence auctions in Dublin for the last few years. However, I can categorically state that the Pearse volumes are NOT FOR SALE!

Another lucky find was a late nineteenth century edition of the memoirs of Susanna Cibber, the daughter of the celebrated actor and director Colley Cibber, he being one of the famous names at Smock Alley theatre during the early eighteenth century. The price….2 euro!

It just shows, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!

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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in Culture, History, Theatre


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