Archive for the ‘Tourism and Photography’ Category

This postcard was sent on the 11th July 1951 and the brief message tells of simple seaside pleasures. The vibrant colours are a tad unrealistic for an Irish summer. The holiday crowd in the foreground wear typical 1950s fashions with most of the men in suits. The reds, pinks and greens of the clothing are particularly enhanced and exaggerated. It was produced by one of the largest postcard manufacturers in the world Valentine and Sons. I have featured other Irish images from their earlier ranges elsewhere in the blog and I wrote the entry on them in John Hannavy’s Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography.

Bray, County Wicklow has a long tradition as a holiday destination and a guidebook dating from 1867 pretty much describes this postcard view: “The remarkable promontory of Bray head rises boldly from the sea to a height of 807 feet and forms the most conspicuous object in the surrounding landscape from its summit, which is of easy access, an extensive view is commanded of the coast and adjacent country, of the town in its bearings, and the mountains by which it is surrounded,” from Sunny memories of Ireland’s scenic beauties: Wicklow.’ It was published in Dublin in 1867 by Browne and Nolan and included photographs by Frederick H. Mares of Grafton Street.

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I am off to New York for ten days and on that note I thought I’d post one of my latest snapshot purchases which, although not Irish per se, has a distinctly Irish-American theme. This snapshot was taken on the boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey, and features a stylish 1920s dame sitting on a ridiculously fake model of the Wishing Seat at the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim.  Presumably the sitter had to pay to pose on the seat and it is interesting to note that the Irish landmark was well enough known to have a resonance with the American public. 

I particularly like the cut-off American flag and the groups in the background. These are typical snapshot details which were not necessarily the object of the photographer’s gaze.

The woman’s outfit is quintessential 1920s style and includes most of the trends from the era discussed in a comprehensive post from the fashion history blog Gamour Daze. These include the cloche hat and t-bar shoes and even though her face is obscured by a flaw in the print I think the snapshot as a whole evokes the holiday location and the flapper era. One of my favourite films is The King of Marvin Gardens which was shot in Atlantic City. It is also highly atmospheric but shows the location in the early 1970s when it was long past its peak. 


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