It is quite hard to come across snapshots taken in pub interiors prior to the 1980s – possibly because of how dark they were. This image was rescued from a skip on Lennox Street, Dublin by my friend Garry O’Neill and given to me a few weeks ago. It has certainly seen lots of wear and tear and I love it all the more because of this! The creases crisscross the group and this makes the image even more appealing to me. Most collectors would pass such a battered image but I find that the changes that happen over time add to rather than detract from the object.
The older men are wearing hats and nearly all are wearing shirts and ties. Were they workmates, neighbours or related to one another? I wonder who kept this photo for over 40 years? The figure on the right of the image is looking at rather than being part of the group. Kevin Kearn’s oral history of Dublin pubs gives a great sense of what they meant to their regular customers. The Portobello area around Lennox Street is really interesting and includes the Bretzel bakery; the Irish Jewish Museum; numerous pubs; bedsits and, of course, was home to the fictional Leopold Bloom.