Remarkable Old Photos of Ireland

This wonderful selection of photographs illustrates Ireland at the very start of the 20th century. Concentrated in Co. Galway, the images depict thatched cottages, shawl clad women, small farms and barefoot children. Indeed, the poverty shown in some of the photos is striking. All of the pictures are taken from the United States Library of Congress collections and are public domain. I hope you enjoy them.

thatched Irish cottage
Thatched cottages, location uncertain, 1901

 

the claddagh
The Claddagh, Co. Galway city, 1901

 

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Country school, Co. Monaghan, 1900

 

old photo Galway
Street vendors, The Quays, Galway city, 1902

 

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The Claddagh, Galway city
old photo claddagh
The Claddagh, Galway city, 1901

 

old photo shop street galway
Shop Street, Galway city, 1903

 

old irish photo
Spinning, possibly Donegal, 1907

 

old photo achill
Achill island woman, 1903

 

old irish man
Old man, Co. Galway , 1901

 

old Irish farm
Irish cottage scene, location uncertain, 1907

 

irish peasants
Farm scene, location uncertain, 1902

 

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Man and cart, 1901

 

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Jaunting car, location uncertain, 1896

 

old irish cottage
Thatched cottage, Cushendall, Co. Antrim, 1903

 

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Cattle market, Galway city, 1901

 

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‘A letter from America’, 1902

 

cutting turf
Cutting turf, Kiltoom, Co. Roscommon, 1903

 

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Antrim, 1902

 

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Irish cottage scene, location uncertain, 1907

 

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Barefoot children, Galway city, 1904

 

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High Street, Galway city, 1901

 

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Inside an Irish cabin, 1904

 

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Donegal cottage scene, 1903

 

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Street vendors, Cork city, 1905

 

Carry turf, Dooagh village Achill Island, Mayo, 1903
Carry turf, Dooagh village Achill Island, Mayo, 1903
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Thatched cottage, Co. Armagh, 1903

 

Barefoot boys, the Claddagh, Galway city, 1903
Barefoot boys, The Claddagh, Galway city, 1903

 

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Sheep fair, Killarney, Co. Kerry

 

27 thoughts on “Remarkable Old Photos of Ireland

  1. Great……never seen photos like these …….but can relate to all that my parents chats about the old time ………under English rule and depravitation

  2. Wonderful I wonder if the pic of women with foot in water on Achill Is is next to what is now called the deserted village and if that is Slievemore Mt in background. Anyone who might know Teresa McDonald founder of Achill Field school of Aracheology could bring this to her attention or U of Galway that runs her program now. Thanks so much Anne J

  3. I could be wrong but it looks like the photo Man & cart, 1901 and the photo Cattle market, Galway city, 1901 have the same buildings in the background. Love old photos!

    1. You are right Nancy. That building is the same as the one with the man and cart. This building was replaced and was a part of Ward’s garage. The replacement building (Ward’s) had a large sign erected above it advertising Castrol and was erected around 1960. It is now part of Dunne’s Stores in Galway City.
      Christy Kelly

  4. What a fantastic thing to come in to work and find. I love the old photos and those faces have a thousand tales to tell! Thanks Richard. A great glimpse into our history.

  5. What a wonderfully fascinating collection of images. I am certain most of these have scarcely ever been seen. Thankful to whoever put them together and published them.

  6. Being part of the UK resulted in such poverty in Ireland. The anti Catholicism of the ruling elites, generation after generation meant Ireland didn’t reach anywhere near it potential until modern times.

  7. Such stirring Photos! Many quicken the blood. The barefoot spinner’smile.
    Many, many thanks for sharing.

  8. My old mother would reminise about children with no shoes and travelling in a jaunting cart to town with her mother driving it. Her father was an officer in the Irish army so they moved all over the country. The poverty in Dublin was pitiful and much worse than anywhere else. How times have changed here.

  9. Memories of a hard life and times in Ireland.. Never fail to be amazed when thinking of what the people have gone through. Watched Julie Walters on an edition of Who Do You Tjink You Are and it showed pictures of snow eviction and breaking down the door with a battering ram so that the cottage couldn’t be lived in again

  10. A glimpse into the past how my grandparents / great grandparents lived. A tough cold and hard life living in dirt floor stone cottages that probably had no plumbing. A day to day struggle very similar to neolithic village life.

  11. Feel emotional as I look at these amazing photos. My grandfather was born in in 1871 in Glangevlin Co Cavan. Thank you so much

  12. I’m planning a trip to Ireland with my parents and sons this July. It is so exciting to see these pictures. If only we could go back in time to see and hear these beautiful folks in living color !

  13. The Claddagh bayside village (later suburb) of Galway city makes a few appearances
    among these old photographs.

    It would be nice if someone who knows the romantic history of the Claddagh Ring would
    attach that story to the photo collection, yes?

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