Old Ireland in Colour, created by John Breslin and Sarah-Anne Buckley is a magnificent compilation of vintage images from around Ireland, vividly portraying Irish life in years gone by.
Today, I'm delighted to share this wonderful book with you. It was one of the top selling books in Ireland over the 2020 holiday period, and when you see its spectacular images, you'll fully understand why.
This lovely publication is now available in the United States, and to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, the publisher Merrion Press has graciously shared a copy with Irish American Mom, for one lucky reader to win.
But before I share details of this giveaway, let's first take a closer look at this Irish treasure.
Life In Ireland Long Ago
Have you ever wondered what life was like for your ancestors in Ireland?
Have you ever held an old black and white family portrait or landscape photograph, and imagined it in color in your own mind's eye?
Have you ever truly imagined how the people of Ireland lived in years gone by?
If so, then you might truly enjoy this book. It boasts beautifully restored images of Old Ireland, that bring the lives of our forebears to life before our very eyes.
Old Ireland In Colour
Old Ireland in Colour celebrates the rich history of Ireland and the Irish through the colour restoration of stunning images of all walks of Irish life, and the Irish abroad, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
From the chaos of the Civil War to the simple beauty of the islands, each image has been exquisitely transformed and every page is bursting with life.
Old Family Pictures As Inspiration
Old Ireland in Colour started in 2019 when John Breslin developed an interest in historic photo colourisation, enhancement and restoration through personal genealogical research.
He began to colorize old family photos – photos of his grandparents from Fanore in Co. Clare and Glenties in Co. Donegal. Using a combination of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology and his own historical research,
John moved from family photographs to photographs of Galway and Connemara, and then on to others taken across the island of Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. After a few months, the Old Ireland in Color project was born.
For this beautiful book, John has meticulously colorized a varied and fascinating selection of images, with breath-taking attention to detail and authenticity.
With photographs from all four provinces, and accompanied by fascinating captions by historian Sarah-Anne Buckley, Old Ireland in Color revitalizes scenes we thought we knew, and brings our past back to life before our eyes.
Vintage Images of Ireland
Let's take a look at some of these Irish cultural treasures.
The Dillons were a Norman family who initially received grants of land in Westmeath and who later acquired properties in neighbouring counties, including Roscommon and Galway.
A photograph by Mary Alice Young, inspired by Flemish art. Young was the eldest daughter of the Rt Hon. Sir F.E.W. Macnaghten, and in 1893 she married W.R. Young, the eldest son of the Rt Hon. John Young and the owner of Galgorm Castle near Ballymena.
Between 1890 and 1915, she took over a thousand photographs and is therefore one of the period’s most prolific female photographers.
Pictured here are Nonnie, or Nannie, O’Donnell, Mary Rodgers, Kitty Conneely and Mrs Gill, all from the Claddagh, Galway City.
The women are wearing the Galway shawl, which was a heavy-weight shawl that became popular at the end of the nineteenth century.
Lady Hazel Lavery (née Martyn) (1880 –1935) dressed as Flora in Botticelli’s painting The Spring.
Born in Chicago to a family of Irish descent, Lavery was an actress, painter and socialite. In 1909, she married Belfast-born John Lavery, who was twenty-four years her senior.
Her portrait by John featured on all Irish Series A banknotes from 1928 until 1976. From then until the adoption of the euro, her likeness was used as the watermark on all Irish banknotes.
Members of the Sheridan and O’Brien families from the Irish Travelling community at mealtime.
Linda O’Reilly (née Ward) was an American model who married Brendan O’Reilly, a presenter on Sports Stadium on RTÉ Television.
Pictured here on a photoshoot in Dublin, she swapped New York for Dublin’s modelling scene, and this picture shows two local boys admiring her fashionable outfit.
This photograph depicts Mrs Bridget Flynn and five of her children – Francis (boy standing), Bridget (mother), Margaret (toddler), Philomena (girl standing), Norbert and Mary (seated).
The Riley family, from Bradford, England, were survivors of the Lusitania sinking.
Photographed here are parents Annie and Edward Riley and their 4-year-old twins, Sutcliffe and Ethel. Of the almost 2,000 persons aboard the Lusitania, 764 were saved.
Two young girls from the Blasket Islands, which were inhabited until 1953 by an Irish-speaking population.
At their height, the islands had 175 residents; there were twenty-two by 1953.
This photograph depicts members of the Sheridan and O’Brien families from the Irish Travelling community.
Sublichs is the Cant (a language spoken by the Travelling community) term for boys.
About The Authors:
John Breslin is a Professor at NUI Galway, where he has taught engineering, computer science and entrepreneurship over a twenty-year period. He has written over 200 publications and co-authored two books.
Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley is a lecturer in History at NUI Galway and President of the Women’s History Association of Ireland. She has published two monographs, four edited volumes and numerous articles. She is co-founder of the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour and Class.
Bringing Yesteryear To Life
This book brings yesteryear to life.
It's a perfect gift for anyone who loves Ireland, but for older generations it may evoke childhood memories. These images are a great way to take a little trip down memory lane. You'll find many great topics for "do you remember" chats.
I received a copy of this book as a gift for Christmas. I found the pictures to be poignant and evocative. Each image is matched with just enough text to enlighten the reader, perfectly elaborating each topic.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has Irish roots, grew up in Ireland, or those who simply have a deep interest in Irish culture and life.
The photos have been digitized and colorized with great skill, making them look like they were taken yesterday. They take you on a journey into the past, traveling through all four provinces of Ireland.
A decade or so ago I recall seeing vintage images with added color. The results were not good, with unrealistic results. This is definitely not the case with this book. The color palate achieved is very realistic, and each shot portrays the humanity and simplicity of Irish life in years gone by.
Where To Purchase Old Ireland In Colour
Old Ireland in Colour is published by Merrion Press and is now for sale in the United States.
It is available through Amazon.
There are many reviews included on the Amazon page, with delighted customers sharing how impressed they are with this work. This book makes a perfect Irish gift.
You can follow Old Ireland in Colour on Instagram, where they share many of these amazing photographs.
They also have a Facebook page which you may like to follow.
One lucky reader will win a hard cover copy of Old Ireland in Colour.
To enter simply leave a comment on this blog post by noon Eastern Time on Saturday, March 20th, 2021.
Any comment will do. What you write does not affect your chance of winning, but if you need inspiration why not tell us if you have any treasured family photos, or vintage images from Ireland or beyond.
A winning comment will be chosen randomly. Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win. Your e-mail won’t be published, just used to contact our lucky contestant for mailing of the prize.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, March 20th, 2021, at the bottom of this blog post.
You may check out Irish American Mom’s complete terms and conditions for sweepstakes’ entries here.
Thank you to all who support this giveaway and share it with family and friends.
And thank you to Merrion Press for sponsoring this prize.
Update: Winner Chosen on March 20th, 2021
Our winner has been randomly chosen using the Pick Giveaway Winner Plug-in for WordPress.
And the lucky reader is ….
I’ll send an email to arrange mailing of her prize. A big thank you to everyone for supporting this giveaway by leaving comments. I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every comment.
Thank you all for supporting our Irish American community.
Stay tuned for more stories and giveaways over the coming weeks and months.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and Blessings)
Irish American Mom
Disclosure: I do not have any financial connection with Merrion Press. The link for purchasing this book is an Amazon affiliate link, which means that if you should purchase this book through this link, I will earn a small commission. The price you pay is not affected. This post reflects my honest and unbiased thoughts about this work.
Copyright 2020 by John Breslin and Dr. Sarah-Anne Buckley. Images republished with permission from Merrion Press.
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