Welcome to Irish Photo Archive where Irish historical images and documents have been made available for you to purchase online.

We sell historical, archived images from every day Irish life as well as significant events in the country’s history.

From an archive of over 3.5 million images you can see the many significant characters that visited Ireland over the years. Have a look and enjoy!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Election 2014: Team Fianna Fail

The Lazarus of Irish politics, Fianna Fail, continues to make its way back from the grave. The party 'set to be the biggest party in local government – a remarkable turnaround'

The party despite some earlier opinions polls putting it precariously close to Sinn Fein for its own comfort has ridden the storm.

The electorate seems inclined to punish a party for continuing with austerity rather than those it feels caused it. The re-emergence of the Green Party would lend itself to such an interpretation.

The proclaimation to dissolve the Dail was
signed by President Eamon de Valera and An Taoiseach Sean Lemass at a
short formal ceremony at Aras an Uachtarain. 18.03.1965

Purchase framed photographs and prints @ Irish Photo Archive

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Election 2001 Team Labour

Eamonn Gilmore has resigned as the leader of he Labour Party in the wake of his party's crushing humiliation in the recent elections.

The departure has been on the cards. Under Gilmore's leadership Labour quickly became an austerity party and were ultimately held responsible for savaging the most vulnerable sections of society. One blogger summed up Labour under Gilmore's leadership:
Perhaps, or perhaps they were a generation of politicians just too wedded to getting into government at pretty much any cost, too wedded to staying there, not wedded at all to questioning why they were, what they were seeking to achieve, what they wanted at the end of the process, and suggesting that ‘responsibility’ (very evident in a very shook Gilmore’s non-apologia) was enough was to completely misunderstand the nature of political activity. 

It has been suggested that one way a party can self-destruct is to go into government.

Labour have confirmed that much.

Workers Party Commemoration Of James
Larkin.7th February 1987 attended by Eamonn Gilmore.

Purchase framed photographs and prints @ Irish Photo Archive

Monday, 26 May 2014

Election 2014: Team Fine Gael

With counting from most poll centres almost complete the Irish electorate will now reflect on the new political landscape that that is unfolding before its eyes.

It was quickly becoming clear that the main Coalition party, Fine Gael:

had a very poor election. Its vote share has dropped by more than 12 percentage points since the general election and, despite the overall increase in the number of council seats, the party is still going to lose more than 100 from its total of 335.

Its losses seemed particularly pronounced in Dublin City Council.

Nevertheless, the future of party leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny looks secure.

Gerald Sweetman welcoming new Fine Gael TDs to Dail Eireann, 1958. 

Purchase framed photographs and prints @ Irish Photo Archive

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dublin-Monaghan bombings

The 40th anniversary of the Dublin-Monaghan bombing was commemorated last weekend with an hour-long ceremony involving laying wreaths at the memorial monument on Talbot Street in Dublin’s city centre. The oration was led by the historian, Tim Pat Coogan, and several other speeches were made.

The Dublin-Monaghan bombings on 17 May 1974 remains the single bloodiest incident of the Troubles, with 34 lives being lost that day, and hundreds more injured. Three bombs were set off without warning in Dublin city centre on a Friday evening as people were leaving work. A fourth was detonated in Monaghan town.

Parnell St, Dublin, in the aftermath of the bombings in 1974

Nobody has ever been charged for this incident and, although the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) have claimed responsibility, there have always been accusations of the collusion of British state forces. However, the British government continues to refuse to hand over documents relating to this incident, citing national security concerns. At the ceremony last Saturday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced his intention to press for access to these documents and get answers for the victims and their families.

Purchase framed photographs and prints @ Irish Photo Archive

Friday, 16 May 2014

Jackie Kennedy

Ireland was astounded during the week to learn that Jackie Kennedy had been exchanging personal letters with an Irish priest for years. However, any initial expectations of a new juicy scandal proved unfounded, as the correspondence proved to be entirely innocent.

Jackie Kennedy and her daughter, Caroline (left), in Wexford, in 1967

Jackie met a priest call Fr Joseph Leonard when she visited Ireland in 1950 as a 21-year-old student. They only met one more time, in 1955, but continued to exchange letters until Fr Leonard died in 1964, shortly after the assassination of JFK. Although very frail at the time, it was Fr Leonard who led the memorial mass for JFK in the Pro Cathedral in Dublin in the days after events had unfolded in Dallas.

These letters have now been put up for sale by All Hallows College, and will be auctioned by Sheppard’s Irish Auction House in Durrow, Co. Laois, on June 10.

Jackie, Caroline and John visiting JFK's Ryan relatives in Wexford, 1967.

Jackie Kennedy visited Ireland in 1967 and went to Dunganstown, Co. Wexford, to visit the Ryan’s at JFK’s ancestral home. Images from this visit are part of the Irish Photo Archive’s collection, and were commissioned by the Irish Times on Wednesday to illustrate their analysis of this emerging story. You can see these images here on this blog, or find more of the various Kennedy visits on, or you can view the Irish Times gallery here.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

State of Grace

The Cannes film festival opens today with Grace of Monaco, a film that has generated far more controversy than is warranted by its subject matter. Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly, or the Princess of Monaco as Kelly is at this point in her life. The film focuses on a period of tension between France and Monaco which boiled down to tax collection – not the most exciting topic for a movie. However, the controversy surrounding the film all relates to players off the screen. 

First of all, there has been on-going tensions between the director, Olivier Dahan (La Vie en Rose) and the producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam on one side, and Harvey Weinstein, the US distributor on the other. Le Pogam told Le Parisien magazine: “We want to show a real crisis situation between Grace and her husband and he wants to tell a fairytale, give Americans a lesson on Monaco and Grace Kelly.”

The royal couple at Áras an Uachtarain, 10 June 1961

Secondly, Grace Kelly’s children have strongly criticized the film, claiming several scenes are entirely made up. A statement released by the house of Grimaldi said: “The royal family wishes to stress that this film in no way constitutes a biopic. It recounts one rewritten and needlessly glamorised page in the history of Monaco and its family with both major historical inaccuracies and a series of purely fictional scenes.”

It was also during this time that Kelly made her final decision to retire from Hollywood. Her husband, Prince Rainier, allegedly put pressure on her to withdraw from acting, implying that it would be unseemly for one of the royal family to appear on film. Their royal wedding had been filmed and released in cinemas in a deal that freed Kelly from a seven-film contract, but Alfred Hitchcock had been trying to persuade her to start in his new film, Marnie. Ultimately, Tippi Hedren would get the role, and replace Kelly as Hitchcock’s muse.

Despite her short film career, Grace Kelly has continued to fascinate people. She was portrayed on film as the archetypal cool blonde, an image that was only solidified when she became the Princess of Monaco. However, legend has it that she was in fact far wilder than her public persona, and that she had affairs with Cary Grant, Clarke Gable, Jimmy Stewart, and many more of her co-stars and directors.

Princess Grace meets her relatives, 15 June 1961

This wild side makes it even more surprising that Kelly would have enjoyed visiting Ireland so much in the 1960s and 1970s, when the Catholic Church reigned supreme and society was extremely conservative – particularly concerning ‘appropriate’ behaviour for women. Though perhaps Ireland allowed a certain degree of escape from the press that would not have been possible in Monaco or in the US.

Whichever Grace Kelly was the true Grace – the ice maiden or the fun-loving siren – the Irish were always proud that she was of Irish heritage, and that she cared enough about this heritage to visit our country on many occasions. Her untimely death in 1982 shocked the nation, but the nation’s affection for Grace has never wavered. 

If you want to remind yourself of how often Princess Grave visited Ireland, why not visit our website:

Sunday, 11 May 2014

To Mother or to Mothering?

From now until May 11, the Irish emigrant communities in Australia, Canada and the US will run a daily gauntlet of shops and advertisements telling them to think of their mothers. And if this isn’t enough to make them feel bad, they are probably still feeling guilty about missing Mother’s Day when it was celebrated in Ireland and Britain six weeks ago. Why can’t Mother’s Day be the same date everywhere, the beleaguered exile laments.

Mothers and children queueing for smallpox vaccinations in 1962

It turns out that Mother’s Day is actually an American invention, just as the cynics have complained for years. It was declared an official holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson after years of vigorous campaigning and lobbying by Anna Jarvis. It was Jarvis who chose the second Sunday in May as the date for the celebration, and she even specified that it should be the singular possessive of “Mother’s Day”, so that each family or person would honour their own mother.

Mrs Luke Casey celebrating winning a new home for her new family with 5-month-old Leslie
after the houses for newly-weds draw in 1962

The day was a big success, and its influence soon spread outside the US, including in Ireland and Britain. Although it was decided to adopt the concept there, the date was altered to coincide with the old Christian festival of Mothering Sunday, where servants were given a Sunday off to attend their ‘mother church’ – their nearest cathedral or large church. It also became a day when child labourers were allowed return home to visit their mother. This tradition was on the wane at the same time as Mother’s Day was introduced, and people hoped adopting Mother’s Day would stop the slide. However, the two events became confused with each other and the religious aspects of Mothering Sunday soon fell by the wayside.

Fr Donal O'Sullivan from Ballinacurra, Co. Limerick, giving his first blessing to his mother after his ordination at Clonliffe College in 1964

It’s thanks to American soldiers based in England during World War II that flowers became the standard gift for mothers. They started giving bunches of wildflowers to the English women that fed and took care of them. After the war, the flowers remained a tradition, though the day was changed back to the old Mothering Sunday date; the fourth Sunday in Lent.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Affordable treasures

But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one...” Henry Ford

We at the Irish Photo Archive know just how much of a treasure we have in our collection. Each member of the team has their own personal favourites, but we also all regularly find another image from the collection that makes us laugh, or do a double-take as we recognize a youthful well-known personality, or just is such a striking image we want to show it off to everyone.

St Finbarr's Monastery at Goughane Barra, County Cork
6th January 1952

And from the feedback we’ve received through our website, on social media and at fairs, we know you guys out there also recognize the quality of our images and are as fascinated as us by the variety and range of subjects.

But, it is still hard times for many people and, though you have probably found dozens of image on our website that you would love to have, not many people have a great amount of spare cash for buying prints – even ones as good as ours!

So we have decided to take a leaf out of Henry Ford’s book and make our beautiful prints more affordable. The quality will remain the same: “constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one...”

A hardworking Limerick man enjoys his pint, for which he has paid
 a penny extra in support of the Limerick Widows Alms House
28th March 1962

 So, from now on, you will be able to purchase a 12” x 8” print of your favourite print for just €20, including VAT. A 16” x 12” print will only set you back €30, down from €50. I’m afraid we still need to charge for postage, and framing will remain extra, but we hope these reduced prices will prove more suitable to the average person’s budget.

And besides, we can go one better than Henry Ford – we can offer black and white!