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


old photo monaghan

Country school, Co. Monaghan, 1900


old photo Galway

Street vendors, The Quays, Galway city, 1902


old photo galway city

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



Man and cart, 1901


old ireland

Jaunting car, location uncertain, 1896


old irish cottage

Thatched cottage, Cushendall, Co. Antrim, 1903



Cattle market, Galway city, 1901



‘A letter from America’, 1902


cutting turf

Cutting turf, Kiltoom, Co. Roscommon, 1903



Antrim, 1902



Irish cottage scene, location uncertain, 1907



Barefoot children, Galway city, 1904



High Street, Galway city, 1901



Inside an Irish cabin, 1904



Donegal cottage scene, 1903



Street vendors, Cork city, 1905


Carry turf, Dooagh village Achill Island, Mayo, 1903

Carry turf, Dooagh village Achill Island, Mayo, 1903


Thatched cottage, Co. Armagh, 1903


Barefoot boys, the Claddagh, Galway city, 1903

Barefoot boys, The Claddagh, Galway city, 1903



Sheep fair, Killarney, Co. Kerry


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27 Responses to Remarkable Old Photos of Ireland

  1. Eamonn January 26, 2016 at 6:02 am #

    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. Anne Johnson February 16, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    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

    • Ann Murphy June 4, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      I thought it was that village too!! Looks just like it!

  3. Rich April 29, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Just amazing stuff
    Thank you

    • ed o'toole December 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

      I agree with all of the above comments. Thanks a million for posting.

  4. Nancy Marshall June 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    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!

    • Christy Kelly January 17, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

      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

  5. Linda June 6, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    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.

  6. Salman Rashid June 8, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    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.

  7. Pat Garidel September 15, 2016 at 1:43 am #


  8. mary russell April 23, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    Now 2017 but all comments above still hold. Marvellous.

  9. mary russell April 23, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Great images.

  10. Sean April 23, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    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.

  11. Jennie Hay Preston April 23, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

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

  12. Josie parker April 24, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    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.

  13. Michael Devlin April 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    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

  14. Catherine hegarty June 4, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Great pictures, some of the cottages look like the one my granny was born in in Donegal. Hard times, carrying those hoss of turf look back breaking work ?

  15. Ciarán September 21, 2017 at 2:32 am #

    Ar fheabhais. Go raibh mile maith agaibh!

  16. patrick dullea November 21, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

    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.

  17. dot amery November 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    WONDERFUL photos so glad to see them, many of hanks for sharing ?

  18. Catherine March 14, 2018 at 7:06 pm #

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

  19. Aoife April 10, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

    Amazing photographs. Thanks for posting them up

  20. Monica C May 4, 2018 at 4:18 pm #

    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 !

  21. Colin Richardson May 13, 2018 at 8:34 am #

    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?

  22. Callum May 13, 2018 at 10:24 pm #

    Wow 😮

  23. Carol and Devorah O' Feldman June 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

    Thank you for sharing


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