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Archive for the ‘Irish Tourism’ Category

I love the colours in these early 70s holiday snapshots which I purchased from an online seller recently. There is something very evocative about this Kodak colour process with its strong red and brown hues. 

The photographs were taken by Irish-American tourists in 1971 and include the slightly surreal image of an A and B pay phone. This pay phone system required the caller to contact an operator and if for some reason the call didn’t go through they could hit the ‘B’ button to return their coins. I wonder if the photograph was taken in an airport and that the green phone is perhaps a courtesy phone? I cannot make out the headlines on the newspaper which might have provided clues as to the time of year. 

I’ve identified the clock tower in the background of this photograph as that on Waterford Quay which was built in 1881. The man is the foreground appears to be enjoying his holiday. 

Upon their return to the United States, the travellers chose to photograph the items they had purchased during their trip to England and Ireland. It provides a great insight into the types of souvenirs which were popular with tourists during the period. I recognise several brands including an Irish Wade pin dish and a leprechaun figure which looks very like those made by Crolly in Donegal. They also bought plenty of linen teacloths and some strange looking records.

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I reckon that this cabinet card features the waterfall at the Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow and that it was taken sometime in the late 1880s or early 1890s. The group are wearing pretty formal attire and I particularly like the heavily boned outfit worn by the women in the middle of the frame. Her companion wears a slightly less restrictive and modern skirt and blouse combo. The man to the fore of the image rests a pith helmet on his knee – perhaps a bit of overkill for an Irish summer!

The label on the back of the card states that copies can be obtained for 1 shilling. The 1883 Post Office Directory lists John Eagar of ‘Rosemount’, Dargle Road, Bray, County Wicklow, as a superintendent for Prudential Life Assurance, however, by 1889, John has become a photographer. The business was a short-lived one and he disappears from this address by 1903. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out anything more about Mr. Eagar. His work is not listed in Eddie Chandler’s Photography in Ireland: the Nineteenth Century and this is the only example of his work which I know of. 


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The two images above originate from a 1964 album taken by an Irish-American couple on their tour of Ireland. The Aer Lingus livery is beautiful in the first photograph which was taken at John F. Kennedy airport, New York, on the 30th of July. The airline branded travel case is very desirable and it all harks back to the days when air travel was a more stylish affair. The glamour of airline travel and its branding are illustrated in Airline: Identity, Design and Culture by Keith Lovegrove. The Irish airline’s 1960s identity compares very favourably to the examples in Lovergrove’s book. Linda King has written an article in Circa magazine which covers the posters created for Aer Lingus in the 1950s.

The pastel hues of the Kodak print are very evocative of the 1960s and the album includes some very atmospheric landscapes. The CIE coach tour which the couple went on visited the usual tourist spots such as Killarney, Bunratty and Adare as well as the Kennedy homestead in Wexford. Indeed, the couple are also very typical of the middle-aged Irish-American tourists who took this tour.  After the organised tour was complete the couple hired a Vauxhall Victor and travelled to County Tyrone – perhaps in search of some Irish cousins?

A dream of England: landscape, photography, and the tourist’s imagination by John Taylor explores why people photograph certain things on holidays and how photography impacts upon the tourist experience.

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