From bygone days…

15 Apr


A neighbour visited last night and brought with him some old photos of people in the locality. These would all have been taken in the fifties in and around Frenchpark. How things change, black and white photographs, everyone sitting in line for the photo very formally. No instant look at the photos either like we can now. These would have been taken into town on the weekly visit, left at the shop and picked up the following week.


The woman sitting on the ledge here was our visitors Mother. I think the machine behind the horse was for turning hay. As a small child I remember my Grandfather using one of these in the seemingly long hot days of Summer. Were the days really like that then or is the child’s view through rose tinted spectacles? I wonder…


Three pretty girls all dressed up in their Sunday best. Everyone had what was called their “good clothes” which they wore to Mass and all day on Sunday. For the men it was always a suit and tie, for the women a pretty dress and coat or a skirt suit which for some reason, in Tipperary anyway, was always called a costume. I wonder if these three were headed off to Mass or on a day out somewhere. Of course visiting friends and relations was always done on a Sunday too so maybe they were going visiting.


This picture is a bit blurred bit it gives an idea of the typical Grandmother figure of the time. Always dressed in black, a figure to be respected by all. This woman had the reputation of always having a smile on her face, she must have been happy with her lot.


Last but not least another one of smiling Granny. I wonder if these two lived in the same house or was it visiting day? A happy day anyway.

I love these old photos, they bring one back to a time long gone, a time when as a very small child I probably had little appreciation of what we actually had back then. Makes me sound ancient but I’m not, to me anyway, I was born in 1958. My Grannies, both of them also wore the black. One of them died in 1981 the other in 1983. Of course not everything was perfect in those days. Years later we realise that sexual abuse was rampant in the church. Unmarried Mothers, as they were called, were often ostracised by their families, sent away, often never to return. At that time everything was swept under the carpet but thankfully the truth came out in recent years.

Many thanks to our friend Hubert for giving permission to share these photographs on my blog.



15 Responses to “From bygone days…”

  1. KL April 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Awww…lovely pics as I also love looking at old photographs. I especially stare and study the faces of the human beings on these old photos – how strange our lives are, we come, stay on this earth for a few days and then we are gone. Where do we go? And, when are gone, nothing of us that make us unique – our personality, our dreams, our experiences, our memories – are left back in the world. No one, not a single soul will ever know about those. All that will be left of us are our pictures and if we have children, then they. So, I always look at these photos and try to feel the persons in the pictures – what did they like, hate; what made them happy or sad; how was their lives; what would have they said if they saw me; could they have imagined that once their pictures will become available in some strange thing called internet and some girl tens of thousands of miles away in a small city in the US will be pouring over them…okay I better stop now!

    • bridget April 16, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Yes indeed…where do we go? The eternal question. Thanks for your lovely comments.

    • Ena Ronayne June 20, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      oh my your comments have really moved me. Like you I too try to figure out the person behind the picture ūüôā

      • bridget June 20, 2013 at 10:40 am #

        I always find old photos very moving. Lives lived and spent but their mark has been left. x

  2. islandthreads April 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    I remember these days very well and I remember how smart and grown up I felt when I got and wore my first costume, Bridget everyone called them costumes then it seems to have changed around the 70s, we used to wear white lace gloves in summer, even with dresses, one of the reasons I like that the isle of Lewis still repects the Sabeth, is that it is a quieter day, a day for family and friends, and of course for many, church, lovely memories, Frances

  3. Jane April 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    I love looking at old photos…anyone’s!
    Funny you should mention that an outfit was called a costume…I remember by Nanna (died 1982) always had ‘costumes’ made for church and best.
    Jane x

  4. Sarah April 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    There’s something wonderful about old photos, maybe it’s the stories they tell. And it’s not just for us ‘older’ folk that enjoy them – my kids, raised in the digital age, love looking at black and white photos of their grandparents and great grandparents. Thanks for sharing these.

  5. madcrowherbals April 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    There’s always something so magic about old photos. Thanks for sharing them.


  6. cindyricksgers April 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Oh, great old photos! I think that is a thrashing machine for hay. My grandfather was the president of the grange here, and stored the old thrashing machine that all the farms shared in one of his sheds. It now sits in our outdoor agricultural museum, under a shed roof to protect it from the weather.

    • bridget April 17, 2013 at 7:23 am #

      Thankfully we have quite a few good museums like that here too especially the Museum of Country Life in County Mayo.

    • Linne June 22, 2013 at 2:28 am #

      Cindy, that was used for turning cut hay so it lay in windrows to dry. But it isn’t a thrasher; those were used to ‘thrash’ the stalks of grain so that the grains (wheat, rye, barley, etc.) would be separated from the straw. My grandfather had a grain farm in Saskatchewan and used one of these, but also a thrasher. I love that your grandfather lived in a community that shared the big expensive machinery. We can learn from them. ~ Linne

  7. Ena Ronayne June 20, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Ah Bridget how kind of you to share these wonderful times (and Hubert to give permission). Like you I remember the ‘costume’ getting a mention in the Cork of yesteryear. Magical post and some of the comments have really got me thinking about our precious ‘life’

  8. Linne June 22, 2013 at 2:30 am #

    I love old pictures, too, and have a large leather suitcase full of ones that belonged to an elder friend of mine. She never married and her nieces didn’t want them. I couldn’t bear to see them thrown out, so I treasure them as she did. Thanks for sharing these. They are so precious and a glimpse into a time and place that fascinates me. I was a girl then, but in BC, Canada, so another world altogether. ~ Linne

  9. SmallHouseBigGarden June 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    You and I are quite close in age but from your ideas and values i suspected it without really knowing. (I was born in ’56.)
    The black was something I thought only my italian grandfolk did! During our Sunday dinners in the 60s I don’t ever recall seeing the older females in anything BUT black…even on Easter!
    Great post! I love the b&w images of my youth and seeing yours brought it all back in living color!

    • bridget June 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Don’t tell anyone else but I was born in May 1958! I never remember either of my Grannies wearing anything but black…even before their husbands died.

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