More than 5,000 retro pictures of Cork to be launched online

More than 5,000 retro pictures of Cork to be launched online

The junction of Winthrop Street and Patrick Street with Lee Cinema (centre).

MORE than 5,000 retro photos of Cork captured by a former Lord Mayor are to be launched online.

The Cork City and County Archives has announced that it has received the donation of the photographic archive of former Lord Mayor Anthony Barry with the kind assistance of the Barry family.

The collection includes more than 5,000 original photographic images of the 1960s and 1970s Cork city and county captured by the former Lord Mayor himself.

More than 5,000 photographs by Former Lord Mayor of Cork Anthony Barry have been donated to Cork City and County Archives.
More than 5,000 photographs by Former Lord Mayor of Cork Anthony Barry have been donated to Cork City and County Archives.

“Viewing these photographs is like opening a door and finding yourself at the centre of 1960s Cork,” the current Lord Mayor of Cork City Tony Fitzgerald said.

“Everyone at the Cork City and County Archives would like to thank the kind generosity of the Barry family in ensuring this special archive is made a permanent and public research resource in Cork.” 

Anthony Barry is remembered for both his political career and as the owner of a small grocery business in Bridge Street and Princes Street that would later specialise in teas.

A scene on Patrick Street from Anthony Barry’s collections
A scene on Patrick Street from Anthony Barry’s collections

Under Barry’s son Peter, this business would go on to grow into the major household name it is today: Barry’s Tea.

Under the government of WT Cosgrave, Anthony worked as election agent and would later go on to be elected TD for the Cork Borough at the 1954 and 1961 general elections.

Mr Barry then served as Lord Mayor of Cork from 1961 to 1962. 

It was at this time that he began producing an extensive collection of photographs of the people, streets, docks and river of his native city.

A typical street scene by Anthony Barry
A typical street scene by Anthony Barry

According to the archives, the unique collection of photographs captures Cork at a period of great transition, best demonstrated by the fact the collection comprises both black and white and colour images of the city.

The collection would be significant alone in that it illustrates a city through the lens of a former mayor, but Barry’s sense of clarity, purpose, and a keen eye for his city and his people is most striking. 

Areas like Merchant’s Quay, Patrick St, and the Coal Quay bear witness to the businesses and residences of Cork past, with dock-workers, shoppers and ‘shawlies’ amongst the many subjects of interest.

The collection is currently in the process of being catalogued, with more than 200 photographic albums transferred to the City and County’s archive repository in Blackpool.

American President John F Kennedy at Dáil Éireann.
American President John F Kennedy at Dáil Éireann.

The cataloguing process is currently underway, a massive preservation project in its own right.

Anthony Barry photo of Cork bus station on Merchant’s Quay.
Anthony Barry photo of Cork bus station on Merchant’s Quay.

As part of this process, the photographic prints are being specially digitised and repackaged to international archival standard, in order that they can be preserved and made accessible for future Cork generations.

The first phase of the project, several hundred images from the archive, are now publicly accessible on the archive’s online catalogue (http://www.corkarchives.ie ).

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