Posts Tagged ‘1950s Ireland’


For nearly one hundred years, the Midland Great Western Railway serviced the small County Cavan village of Crossdoney. This station, along with many others, closed in the mid-twentieth century. Only one third of the 5,600 km (3,480 miles) of track that existed in 1920 remains today. Many border counties, such as Cavan, are now without a rail service.

The remaining rail infrastructure and stations are beautifully recorded on the Eiretrains blog and you can see photographs of the near derelict station at Crossdoney here.

This photograph was printed on a postcard and may or may not have been available commercially. I cannot imagine that this odd and slightly blurred image was a big seller. Perhaps, it fits into the category of ‘boring postcards’ although I think that there is more to it than appears at first glance. Essentially it depicts nothing more than a sign and some railings, however, it also marks a very specific geographic location and signifies the way in which the railway connected such locales to the wider world.

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The accordion became increasingly popular with Irish céilidh bands in the 1940s and 50s. Some purists, including the composer Seán Ó Riada, were against its use in Irish traditional music. This band are all playing two-row button accordions and even though the photograph has seen better days it is still a keeper. I like to think of it pinned up in a rural kitchen for many decades.

I recently bought Bertien van Manen’s 2007 book called Give Me Your Image whose work features still-life style images of family photos as they are commonly displayed in households. The concept for this book really appeals to me and makes me wonder about the photographs I collect and where they were displayed during their lifetime.  

 A quick search reveals that there were many bands of this name active in the 1950s. The seller indicated that it originated in Kilkenny, so the band may possibly be St. Patrick’s Dance Band from Ballyragget.

I also like the illustration which is barely visible on the drum kit – the glamorous 1950s couple are definitely at odds with the appearance of the band members and the makeshift stage.

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