Friday 24 June 2022

Breslin Archive adds 100-year-old photos of Co. Cork and beyond

More than 100 social history photographs of Fermoy and surrounding areas in County Cork have been published this month on the Breslin Archive. The photographs include rarely seen images of the West (New) Barracks in Fermoy after they were torched in August 1922 during the Civil War; the National Army being welcomed by crowds outside the (no longer extant) Royal Hotel on Pearse Square; the old Fermoy Tennis Club; buildings near the old Aerodrome; a point-to-point race; and views of some of the big houses around Fermoy including Tullagreine, Castlehyde and Kilshannig.

Unknown photographer. “Group at Pavilion, Tuam” 1927.
The Breslin Archive. Click for full image.

These photographs are from a collection of six albums of primarily Irish photographic negatives that were taken by an as-of-yet unidentified photographer from 1919 to 1928, and provide a fascinating insight into the social history of Ireland at the time.

The full collection, obtained in an auction of items from Dublin’s CafĂ© en Seine, includes many views from Cork, Galway, and other Irish counties, with some yet to be scanned.

The albums were fully indexed, catalogued and dated by the photographer, and the celluloid negatives themselves each measure 10cm by 8cm.

The Breslin Archive was created by John Breslin in 2019 to digitally preserve analogue photographs of Ireland from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Launching this new collection, John said: “It has taken some time to digitise and geolocate many of these images, but we are very excited to share this delightful album of photographs which will be of interest to both historians and locals in the Fermoy area. They are a window into the past lives, work activities and hobbies of some of the Irish social classes during the 1920s.”

The digitised Fermoy photographs are now available to view online via the Breslin Archive’s Flickr page at, and all photographs are also available on the Breslin Archive website.