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, 27 March 2015

Jameson Whiskey Distillery

Jameson Whiskey is the most internationally recognized of all Irish whiskey, and accounts for 75% of all Irish whiskey sales worldwide. It is also the third largest distillery in the world, selling over a million barrels annually.

Underground storage at the Jameson Distillery, 1952
However, the market was not always as comfortable for Jameson. The company had been the leading whiskey brand in the nineteenth century also, but their fortunes were severely affected by the introduction of prohibition in the US. This allowed Scotch whisky to make advances into the market as it was smuggled over the Canadian border.

Jameson had two distilleries in Ireland, one in Dublin and one in Cork. The Dublin distillery was located in Bow Street, in the Smithfield area behind the Four Courts in central Dublin. It played a major part in the business operations; distilling, storage, maturing, and distribution, as can be seen from the images in this blog.

Testing the whiskey is maturing properly
The Dublin distillery was closed in 1971, with all operations moving to the Cork site. One of the Dublin buildings was kept by the Irish Distillers (a collaboration between Jameson, Powers and the Cork Distillers) as their headquarters, and was turned into the Old Jameson Distillery museum, which is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Dublin.

A group of overseas students visit the Jameson Distillery, 1963

Ironically, the distillery always was a place that VIPs were taken to for a treat, which was always combined with a PR opportunity for the company. Actors, singers, celebrities, overseas students and a few politicians all made their way to Bow Street to witness the creation of uisce beatha. It is a visit that thousand of people make still to this day, and is especially popular amongst overseas tourists.

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Friday, 20 March 2015

The Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel is a group of mediaeval buildings situated in the Golden Vale of Tipperary. The site was built on top of a large outcrop, and dominates the horizon for miles around.

The Rock was originally the seat of the Kings of Munster before the Norman invasion. The location was donated to the church by Muircheartach Ua Briain, the King of Munster in 1101 and a great-grandson of Brian Boru. None of the buildings from this time survive, just the more modern religious buildings.

The Rock of Cashel, 1957
On the Rock today, you will find the ruins of a 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, a 13th century Gothic cathedral, a 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. The buildings feature notable architectural details, such as the twin towers on each side of the nave and chancel that are Germanic influences not found on any other buildings of the time period. The round tower is very well maintained, and the graveyard on the ground contains several high crosses. The cathedral also holds some beautiful frescoes dating from mediaeval times.

For some reason, the Anglican Archbishop of Cashel in 1749, Arthur Price, decided to take the roof off the cathedral. The site fell into ruin, and is now totally dedicated as a tourist site.

The Rock in 1962 
According to legend, the Rock was formed when St Patrick drove the devil from a mountain nearby. Satan was furious, but because he was unable to strike any harm against St Patrick, he bit a chunk out of the mountain top in frustration and spat it out at Cashel. The mountain is now called the Devil’s Bit.

The main highway from Dublin to Cork used to swing right by the side of the Rock of Cashel, with space provided on the side for people to pull up and take photographs without obstructing the traffic. However, on the new motorway, it is possible to drive right past Cashel without catching a glimpse of the Rock. Travelling time from Cork to Dublin, and on to Belfast, has been drastically reduced, thanks to all the towns that have been bypassed, but this efficiency comes at the loss of beautiful sights like the Rock of Cashel rising up on the horizon.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

St Patrick’s Day 2015

Lá Fhéile Phadraig shona daoibh! Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all! Wherever you are in the world, we hope you get a little piece of time to day to celebrate your connection to the Emerald Isle.

We have some great photographs of the Dublin St Patrick’sDay parades through the years which might bring back some nostalgic memories. If not, their contrast to the glittery parade we will see in today’s Dublin will certainly amuse. Take a look through and enjoy!

This slightly sinister contingent from Bundoran in the 1954 parade would not exactly have encouraged me to holiday there, despite knowing what a beauty spot the place is. I'd be too fearful of meeting scary clowns and giant babies!

St Patrick's Day parade, 1954
Though maybe a couple of pints afterwards would help calm me down.

Drowning the shamrock in 1961.
The floats will all have been prepared well in advance, of course, like this Smithwick's float from 1962. The craft and ingenuity that goes into those creations remains as strong today as 50 years ago.

Smithwick's preparing their float in 1962.

But make sure you get out early, because all the good spots get snapped up fast. Perching at the feet of Daniel O'Connell was popular in 1976, and no doubt will be in 2015 as well. 

There's always a struggle for the best vantage point.
Have a great day, everybody!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Mise Éire

Mise Éire was a documentary film telling the story of the build-up to the 1916 Rising, the growth of Irish nationalism from 1890 and the key people involved in the movement.

It was directed by George Morrison, who combined existing archival material to tell the story. As Morrison told RTÉ, it was the first documentary film to combine newsreel footage, photographic stills, contemporary documents, graphics, and architectural detail. It also had a soundtrack written specifically for it by Seán Ó Riada, and which adapted traditional Irish music for a chamber orchestra.

George Morrison editing the second half of Mise Éire
21 September 1960
The film proved very popular with the public, and was viewed by 180,000 people in the first year of its release. It was also well received when distributed overseas. Gael Linn sponsored Morrison in his creation of the follow-up to Míse Éire, which was called Saoirse? and concentrated on the War of Independence and the outbreak of the civil war.

Soldiers attending Mise Éire
30 November 1960

Mise Éire is still available on DVD, and no doubt will be re-released in the run-up to the 1916 commemorations. Clips are available on YouTube, if you would like to find out more about the film, as well as a TG4 documentary on Morrison and the making of Mise Éire.

Purchase framed photographs and prints @ Irish Photo Archive

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Blackrock Baths

The Blackrock Baths were a public swimming pool located right on the seafront of Dublin Bay. Established in 1830s, the concrete pools were built in 1887 and incorporated a men’s pool, a women’s pool and a concrete walkway. In 1928, the government bought the baths and prepared them for use in the Tailteann Games.

Swimming Championships at Blackrock Baths
2 August 1958
After 1928, the baths were made available to the public during the summer months, making the 50m 8-lane swimming pool, the 10m and 3m diving board, and changing rooms a much–loved public facility. As the pool was right on the sea-front, all of Dublin Bay could be viewed while swimming, or from the tiered seating area which could accommodate 1,000 spectators.

The Connolly sisters, Maureen and June, performing a synchronised swimming routine before a packed house
1 July 1966
One of the best-known divers associated with the baths was Eddie Heron, who first made his mark in the 1928 Tailteann Games. As ‘Fancy Diving’ had also recently been introduced into the Olympic Games, Heron was invited to the States to try out for the US diving team. On his return to Ireland, Heron returned to his local Sandycove swimming club and made it the bastion of diving in Dublin. A plaque dedicated to his honour is still visible on the bridge that lead over the railway tracks to the baths.

Eddie Heron and Bill Morrison, former Irish champion at the Gallagher High Diving Gala at Blackrock Baths
1 July 1966
The popularity of the baths began to decline from the 1960s onwards, as indoor heated swimming pools began to be introduced. An attempt was made in the 1980s to repopularise them, but the baths eventually fell into disuse. The diving board could still be seen from passing trains until 2013, when the baths were demolished out of concern for safety.

Purchase framed photographs and prints @ Irish Photo Archive