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Bluett Collection

The Bluett Collection of photographic slides depict life in Clare in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Most of the photographs were taken in Ennis and show weddings, parades, processions, sports events and everyday life. There are also many images of the developing Shannon Airport, trips to the seaside, and trips abroad. The photographs were taken by Bill Bluett, a Limerickman who moved to Ennis in 1931. Bill Bluett used a second-hand Leica which he had acquired from Germany in 1945, through a TWA flight steward who exchanged cartons of cigarettes for the camera. The collection was presented to Clare County Library by Bill's son, Liam, in 1994.

The Photographs

See also the Bluett 8mm Film Collection

Clare Railways Collection

The Clare Railways Collection consists of over 300 photographs, mainly of the West Clare Railway. The WCR was a narrow gauge railway built between 1884 and 1887 and serving Ennis, Corofin, Ennistymon, Lahinch and Miltown Malbay. An extension to the line, the South Clare Railway, was built between 1890 and 1892 and served Quilty, Kilmurry, Doonbeg and Moyasta Junction. At Moyasta the line divided into branches. One ran west to Kilkee and the other to Kilrush and Cappagh Pier. The WRC ran until 31 January 1961. The majority of the photographs of the WRC in this collection were taken by Mr Leslie Hyland for the Irish Railway Record Society. The collection also includes a number of photographs by Herbert Richards of the Limerick and Sligo Branch of the Great Southern and Western Railway. We are grateful to Mr Hyland, Mr Richards and the Irish Railway Record Society for permission to use these photographs.

The Photographs

Diel Collection

Florida residents Roger and Sue Diel have been visiting County Clare for many years and Roger is the author of two works of fiction based on the county. Their interest in the castles and tower houses of County Clare is reflected in this collection of images, as well as abbeys and churches, the landscapes of the Burren and the coastline, and the streetscapes of Clare's villages and towns. The Diels have generously donated this collection to the library.

The Photographs

Ennis Committee for Travelling People Collection

The Ennis Committee for Travelling People was established in 1967 and disbanded in 2007 and comprised of local settled people living in the Ennis area. The committee was set up to improve the conditions of Travellers in Co. Clare in general, but particularly in Ennis, and set itself three goals in order to achieve its objective: settlement, education and employment. Up to the recent past, Travellers were living in atrocious conditions on the roadside without running water for cooking, cleaning and toilet facilities. The conditions of the Travelling People have indeed improved over this time and continue to get better in terms of accommodation, education, health and equal opportunity, and this is evident in this collection of photographs. Much legislation is now in place in favour of Traveller inclusion in Irish society, and many Travellers themselves are taking the lead to ensure that this legislation becomes reality.
This photographic collection celebrates the collaboration between Travelling People and the Ennis Committee for Travelling People - a partnership that has benefited everyone. The members of the Committee have been numerous down through the years, and only a few of them feature in the photographs. The photographs were taken mainly by Pat Galvin, and also by Haulie Keane and Dermot Quinlivan. Pat has taken care of the collection over the years. Clare County Library is grateful to Pat and all the members of the Committee for donating this wonderful resource and to Brother Cathal Duddy O.F.M. for all his work in gathering the information that accompanies the photographs.

The Photographs

Franciscan Friary Ennis, Collection

In 1239, Donough O’Brien, King of Thomond, invited the Franciscans to establish themselves in Ennis, offering to build a church and dwelling place for them. Their arrival coincided with the establishment of the town of Ennis, where they have made a lasting contribution to many aspects of the life of the town. The Franciscan Friary Ennis Collection of photographs spans over a century and highlights the buildings, activities and personalities of the Ennis Franciscans. Clare County Library is grateful to the Ennis Friars for kindly lending the collection for digitising, and particularly to Brother Cathal Duddy who instigated the project and liased with the library.

The Photographs

Michael John Glynne Collection

Michael John Glynne was the best-known freelance photographer in the North Clare area for over forty years. Born in Ennistymon in 1919 - where he lived all his life - he began his photographic career in the 1950s and worked both as a commercial photographer and as a photographer for the ‘Clare Champion’ newspaper. In the early days, he built his own mobile darkroom which he brought around on his bicycle. Having taken photographs at schools, First Communions and Confirmations, he processed the films on the spot. During his many years with the ‘Clare Champion’ he never failed to cover an assignment, despite not having his own transport, and was a well-known figure on the roads of North Clare. The photographs in this collection date mainly from the 1950s through to the 1980s and reflect his many interests. He regularly photographed the FCA annual Summer camp at Lahinch (he had been the first District Officer of the Ennistymon LDF company), and had a keen interest in farming, fishing, hurling, and, most of all, in people. He had a love of greyhound coursing and attended many meetings, contributing coursing photos to the ‘Sporting Press’ and the ‘Clare Champion’. He visited Lisdoonvarna each year for the September festival and covered many golf tournaments at the Lahinch links. This collection is an extraordinary record of the life and times of the people and communities of North Clare. A colourful, gifted, and well-read man, Michael John Glynne died in 1998. This large collection of negatives was donated to the Clare Local Studies Project by Michael John, and is being made available through the Library’s website, a project which will take many years.

The Photographs

Graveyard Inscriptions Collection

This collection consists of photographs of headstones from various graveyards which were submitted to the Donated Transcriptions section of the website. The inscriptions are searchable by graveyard or by personal name, e.g. a search for McMahon will call up all McMahon headstones in the collection. The graveyards covered in the collection are:

All Photographs

Irish Tourist Association Survey

The ITA Survey photographs were taken to accompany the ITA Topographical and General Survey of 1943. The Survey was carried out by the ITA, a forerunner of Fáilte Ireland, to identify tourist attractions of an historical and archaeological nature and assess tourist amenities throughout the country. The photographs concentrate on historical buildings and landscapes.

The Photographs
I.T.A. Topographical and General Survey 1942/3

Killaloe Heritage Centre Collection

The Killaloe Heritage Centre Collection was assembled when research was being carried out to set up the Killaloe Heritage Centre in the early 1990s, and donated to Clare County Library in 1998. Photographs and postcards were borrowed from local people in the Killaloe area, copied, and the originals returned to their owners. Details of the people and places depicted were carefully noted. The collection covers many individuals, families, businesses, social and sporting events in the area. The navigation of the Shannon River and Lough Derg, and the building of the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme are particularly well covered.

The Photographs

Krieger Burren Flora Collection

Carsten Kreiger is a freelance photographer specializing in nature and landscape photography. His main themes are the flora and the habitats of his chosen home in Co. Clare. Carsten’s website is at and a preview of his forthcoming book on the Burren can be seen at His collection of Burren flora images was purchased by Clare County Library in 2003. Permission to use the text which accompanies these images was kindly provided by Shannon Development. The botanical details were written by Dr. E. Charles Nelson, an authority on Burren flora and author of several botanical books relating to the region. Clare County Library is grateful to both Shannon Development and Dr Nelson for their generosity and assistance.

The Photographs

Lawrence Collection

The Lawrence Collection consists of 40,000 glass plate negatives from 1880 to 1914 which are held by the National Library of Ireland's National Photographic Archive. The images were produced commercially, the majority of them being taken by Robert French. The original images were captured on large glass plate negatives and incorporate details which become apparent when parts of images are enlarged as we have done with a selection included here. Each enlargement is included after the original image from which it was taken.

The Photographs

MacNamara Collection

The MacNamara Collection of photographs was taken by Dr. George Unthank Mac Namara of Corrofin, Co. Clare, a keen antiquarian and photographer. The black and white photographs date from around 1910 and reflect MacNamara's interest in the archaeological sites of County Clare. The photographs were donated to Clare County Library by Dr. D. W. MacNamara of Corrofin in 1941.

The Photographs

Miscellaneous Collections

Miscellaneous Photographs

This consists of individual photographs and small collections of photographs held by the library

The Photographs

Murphy Hynes Kilkee Collection

This collection of photographs and postcards depicts the resort town of Kilkee over the course of the 20th Century. The images portray the people of the town and its visitors and changes in the town itself. The images are the result of years of collecting and photographing by two individuals, author Father Ignatius Murphy and Mary T. Hynes, who was the branch librarian in the Sweeney Memorial Library in Kilkee for many years. Both had a life-long interest in the history and people of Kilkee. The collection was kindly donated to Clare County Library by Fr Murphy’s brother, Gay and his wife, Rhonda.

The Photographs

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) Collection

This architectural survey, undertaken between 1992 and 1999 for the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, is a representative sample of structures of interest which illustrate the history and development of building in County Clare. It documents both the extraordinary and the commonplace buildings that exist throughout the county. This beautiful collection of photographs, taken in 2008, was kindly donated to Clare County Library by the NIAH, with permission to use text from its publication 'An introduction to the architectural heritage of County Clare' (2009) to accompany the photographs. The publication was written by Jane Fenlon and edited by Willy Cumming. The photographs were taken by Shannon Images. The original survey was carried out by Mairín Doddy, Colm Murray and Gerry Browner.

The Photographs

O'Callaghan Westropp Collection

The O’Callaghan-Westropp Collection comprises photographs of the O’Callaghan-Westropp family of Lismehane House, O’Callaghan’s Mills, Co. Clare. The photographs cover the period from 1917 to 1923 and are mainly photographs of the family of Colonel George O’Callaghan-Westropp, his wife, Henrietta and their children Rosemary and Conor. Most of the photographs were taken in the grounds of Lismehane House, which was known as Maryfort House for a time. The original name of Lismehane House was reverted to in 1912. In addition to family photographs, there are a number of very interesting photographs of Doolin and Achill, where the family holidayed, horse races and strawboys at Lismehane, and military activity during the War of Independence. There is also a fascinating set of photographs taken at Moyriesk House in September, 1923, the day after the lady of the house, Mrs Geraldine Crowe (nee Foster-Vesey-Fitzgerald), had been kidnapped by armed men. Mrs Crowe was seized, according to the Saturday Record, “in connection with the unlawful grazing of her land, off which, it is stated, some cattle were recently seized by the authorities and sent to Dublin to be sold.” The Clare Champion stated the Mrs Crowe refused to sign a cheque to cover the cost of the cattle. The 74 year old Mrs Crowe was held for seven days before being released.
The O'Callaghan-Westropp family and Maryfort House were involved in the Bodyke Evictions

The Photographs

Postcard Collection

The Postcard Collection contains a miscellany of photographs of County Clare mainly covering holiday resorts, scenic views, towns and villages and historical buildings. Many of the postcards are tinted. The main producers of postcards in Ireland - The Lawrence and Valentine Studios - are well represented in the collection.

The Photographs

Prints and Manuscripts Collection

This collection contains prints of drawings, engravings and paintings. It also contains manuscripts.

Schorman Collection

Born in Dublin, Sonia Schorman has been living in Clare since the 1970s. She has a keen interest in archaeology and has been a member of the Shannon Archaeological and Historical Society since the 1980s. She has been editor of the society's magazine, 'The Other Clare', for a number of years. After studying for a Diploma in Archaeology in 1997, she donated the photographs she had taken during her studies to Clare County Library, and also offered copies of any future photographs she might take. The collection now contains over 2,500 photographs of, primarily, archaeological subjects.

The Photographs

Vandeleur Collection

The Vandeleur Collection was donated to Kilrush Amenity Trust Ltd by David Christie Miller in 1998 and consequently to Clare County Archives. David Christie Miller is the son of Lieut.-Colonel Sir Geoffrey Christie Miller. Sir Geoffrey's brother Sydney Richardson Christie Miller married Evelyn Norah Vandeleur in 1904, the daughter of Hector Stewart Vandeleur and Charlotte Foster. Hector Stewart Vandeleur was the last of the Vandeleurs to live in Kilrush House before it was destroyed by fire in 1897. The collection is contained in two albums. Album 1 dates from 1857 to 1871, with most of the photographs dating from the early 1860s. The photographs depict the children of Colonel Crofton Moore Vandeleur, their family and their circle of friends and acquaintances. There are many photographs of soldiers, particularly those of the 10th Royal Hussars and the 7th Dragoon Guards, both based in India, to which Captain Crofton Toler Vandeleur belonged. Album 2 covers the period from 1895 to January 1896. It contains photographs of the Vandeleur Family, Kilrush House, Kilrush Town, Kilkee and Cappagh. It also contains photographs of Vandeleur family portraits. Two pages are dedicated to Dromoland Castle, with photographs of the O’Brien family. There are also many photographs of the Foster family and of their homes in Apley Park, Bridgnorth, Shropshire and Spratton Grange, Northampton.

The Photographs

Westropp Collection

The Westropp Collection photographs were taken by Thomas Johnson Westropp of Atyflinn, County Limerick. A prolific photographer, writer and draughtsman, he is probably the most famous antiquarian associated with County Clare. The photographs in this collection are mounted in an album titled “Views in County Clare 1898” and the dedication reads “Dr George U Macnamara, with T.J. Westropp’s best wishes. In remembrance of many happy excursions 1894-1898-1902.” The album was donated to Clare County Library by the MacNamara family of Corrofin.

The Photographs

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