Photographs of 1960s Ireland.
Photographer Richard Tilbrook’s view of O’Connell Street, Dublin – June 1963
The National Library of Ireland is home to a terrific collection of snapshot depictions of 1960s Ireland. Thanks to readers writing in we know the names of many of the faces in these photographs. Dates and locations transport us to a vibrant Dublin city and the lush Irish countryside.
“My name is Colm Irwin and I was about 3. It was strange how I came across the image it was in the evening had just looked at Sky News and for some unknown reason googled images of old Dublin and there was this image. It’s a bit surreal seeing yourself in the picture. Haven’t really changed – a good bit taller and I still have my own teeth … Cheers.”
Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1969
“Delivered in 1953 to CIE were six of these double deck coaches, numbered R541 to R546. They were Leyland OPD2/1’s with bodies built by CIE. These were very stylishly finished vehicles, for the express service to Dublin Airport. They had centre entrance and staircase, seating for 50 and a large walk in luggage compartment behind the back axle. After 11 years on the airport service, they were converted to half cab rear platform buses. An example R541 (ZO 6960) is preserved.”
Date: September 1961
This is American model Linda Ward (later O’Reilly) posing, while two local boys give her outfit the once over.. Linda Ward, who married Brendan O’Reilly, presenter of Sports Stadium on RTÉ Television, swapped New York for Dublin’s modelling scene. Locations: Winetavern Street, Dublin. Potographer: Colman Doyle. Date: Between January 1960 and 1966
Patrick Sullivan’s Bar, circa 1963.
Kilfree Junction, Co. Sligo. A man pushing a steam train round a turntable.
Date: May 1960
Poet Patrick Kavanagh eyeing the stony grey soil of Monaghan at his native Inniskeen.
The Dictionary of Irish Biography entry for Patrick Kavanagh gives 21 or 23 October 1904 as his birth date, but most other sources say that Patrick Kavanagh was born on 21 October. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1963
Capel Street, Dublin at 9.30 am. Date: Tuesday, 28 June 1960
Many images in this gallery of 1960s Ireland were taken by Elinor Wiltshire (née OBrien), a Limerick-born photographer raised on Foynes Island in the Shannon Estuary, Elinor was educated at home until a teenager, before attending Newtown School in Waterford.
In her 30s, she set up the Green Studio at St Stephen’s Green in Dublin with her husband Reggie Wiltshire, himself an accomplished professional photographer. The Green Studio was a commercial venture, and in parallel Elinor photographed Dublin street scenes and events of interest, such as Corpus Christi processions and the 1954 commemoration of Bloomsday by Dublin literati. She and Reggie were friendly with the poet Patrick Kavanagh, and he invited Elinor to photograph him in his home county of Monaghan. She used a Rolleiflex camera held at waist level looking down at the 6cm-square screen rather than directly at the subjects, resulting in more natural compositions…
After Reggie’s death in 1968 and following on from their interest in photographing Irish antiquities, Elinor spent six weeks in Ethiopia in 1971 taking photographs of early Christian churches – she met the emperor Haile Selassie while there. Those pictures were exhibited in Dublin. Elinor moved to London later in 1971. She worked for Intourist from 1974 to 1983, arranging specialist tours to the Soviet Union, helped by her knowledge of the Russian language.
Elinor lived in London for 40 years… She took up botany seriously at the age of 70… She was an active member of the London Natural History Society and took part in their detailed survey of Buckingham Palace gardens in the mid-1990s.
Queen Street, Dublin City, Co. Dublin. Photographer: James P. O’Dea. Date: 16 May 1964
A fishing trawler returning to Skerries, Co. Dublin with a full catch. Date: Circa 1960
Holy Communion girls led by a nun pass no. 3, Halston Street, Dublin on the feast of Corpus Christi. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 5 June 1969
Clifden, Co. Galway – 1960
Four girls in the shadow of the new Ballymun tower blocks. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1969
A half-demolished Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street, Dublin. From the front page of the Irish Times on Tuesday, 8 March 1966: “The top of Nelson Pillar, in O’Connell street, Dublin, was blown off by a tremendous explosion at 1.32 o’clock this morning and the Nelson statue and tons of rubble poured down into the roadway. By a miracle, nobody was injured, though there were a number of people in the area at the time.”
Cumberland Streeet in Dublin – 1969. By Einor Wiltshire
A Garda directing traffic on Dame Street in Dublin. Date: June 1963
The Easter Rising memorial Arbour Hill, Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1966
Women taking part in a Corpus Christi Procession in Cahir, Co. Tipperary.
Date: Thursday, 13 June 1963
An Evening Press newspaper seller does a brisk trade on O’Connell Street, Dublin on the day after Nelson’s Pillar was blown up. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire Date: Wednesday, 9 March 1966
March 19, 1961. Bill County taking a breather in the Signal Cabin, Albert Quay in Cork city
Moore Street, Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1964
Theatre Royal on Hawkins Street in Dublin. Date: Sunday, 1 April 1962
22 Herbert Street, Dublin. Date: Friday, 26 March 1965
Urinal on Ormond Quay, Dublin featuring a poster ad for the News of the World. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1969
Working alongside the Gallarus Oratory on the beautiful Dingle Peninsula in Kerry. Mossy Carey: “This is Seamus Johnson, uncle of Seamus Kelliher, who has confirmed the identity. He maintained the oratory during his lifetime.” Photographer: Richard Tilbrook. Collection: Tilbrook Photographic Collection. Date: Around 1960
March 23, 1963. ‘This is Mrs Lawlor, pictured at Borris Train Station in Co. Carlow… This photo was taken just days before this train station closed forever on 1 April 1963’.
Group of men, Corpus Christi procession, Cahir, Co. Tipperary – 1963
Moore Street, Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1964
River Liffey at Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1964
St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1964
Outside the National Bank, Dublin, June or July 1969.
Ring of Kerry. Is that writer and naturalist Rosemary Elizabeth Tilbrook (aged about 32), wife of the photographer Richard Tilbrook? The car is Ford Consul Mk II, registered in East Suffolk, England in 1958. Date: Circa 1960
Garda directing traffic, O’Connell Bridge, Dublin. Date: June 1963
Protest against evictions from tenement buildings on York Street in Dublin captured by Elinor Wiltshire and her Rolleiflex camera. Date: Circa June/July 1964
Rotunda Hospital on Parnell Street, Dublin. A ‘Butterfly Nun’ member of the Daughters of Charity (of St. Vincent de Paul) in her cornette. The Daughters of Charity abandoned the cornette on 20 September 1964. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire Date: 1964
April 10, 1965. Fred McDonagh in his Signal Cabin, Enfield, Co. Meath at 1.55 p.m. His grandson Traingraham:
“A wonderful photo of my Grandad, he was just after moving from Moyvalley station some 3 miles down the track which was just after closing down. ” A true Gentleman” Lived in Moyvalley station till he died in Naas hospital on the 7 July 1977, Retired in November 71 or 72, had a daughter and two sons. His wife died on 2 Jan 1983.”
Taxi driver at the rank on Dublin’s O’Connell Street beside the Sacred Heart Shrine. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: Summer 1964
Two women take a break from church cleaning at St. Audoen’s Church, High Street, Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1969
Parnell Monument at the junction of Upper O’Connell Street, Parnell Street and Cavendish Row, Dublin. The text on the Monument is from a passionate speech in support of Home Rule for Ireland that Charles Stewart Parnell gave in Cork on 21 January 1885: “… No man has the right to fix the boundary of a nation. No man has the right to say to his country, “Thus far shalt thou go and no further”, and we have never attempted to fix the “ne plus ultra” to the progress of Ireland’s nationhood, and we never shall.” Date: Circa 1969
This is James P. O’Dea (left) and Fred McDonagh raising a glass at a pub in Moyvalley, Co. Kildare. Date: Wednesday, 23 August 1961
St. Catherine’s Church on Thomas Street in Dublin. Elizabeth or Lily Collins on the left, and her friend Angela Arnold on the right. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: Summer 1969
Kildare Town. Date: June 1963
Pigeon House Road, Ringsend, Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: 1969
Ring of Kerry. Photographer: Richard Tilbrook. Date: June 1963
Heuston Station (previously Kingsbridge), Dublin. Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire. Date: September 1969
1960s Ireland via: National Library of Ireland