Street altars and May processions in honour of Mary were commonplace in Ireland until quite recently. The terraced houses in the background place the image firmly within an urban setting. This photograph is from a batch of Tipperary images I bought a few years back and others in the selection are identified as being from Clonmel so perhaps that is the location? I like the girls in white dresses who give the photo a summery feeling.
This type of folk or vernacular practice interests me and I have re-read Kay Turner‘s book Beautiful Necessity on the subject of women’s altars and shrines several times. The National Library of Ireland’s photographic collection includes some images of street altars and decorations dating from the Catholic Emancipation Centenary in 1929. I also worked on a collection of photographs taken between the 1950s and the 1970s by Elinor Wiltshire which feature Corpus Christi altars from my own area – Dublin 7.