1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 12) THE END OF THE ROAD

After a night’s rest in Belfast, it was time to head down south again, but the first stop was in County Down on the Down side of the River Lagan. Lily and family paused to admire the relatively new Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate. ??????????????????????????????????? Sir Arnold Thornley was commissioned to design the home of Northern Irish democracy as early as 1920; the architect chose to create a building in classical Greek style. Work did not commence on Thornley’s design until 1922, and after many re-designs including extra storeys, the building was not officially opened until late in 1932. The English Prince of Wales did the honours; a man who was to serve as King Edward VIII of the UK for less than 12 months during 1936.

???????????????????????????????????Lily Parker’s second 1961 photo captures the magnificence of the Stormont structure beyond blooming flowerbeds. Perhaps it also captures Lily’s growing confidence with her camera and creativity.

In my opinion, the next and last photo encapsulates the whole character and innocence of the Parker family’s visit to Ireland in the summer of 1961.

O'Connell Street, Dublin

Photo #61 of 61 taken in 1961

At first glance, it appears to be a typical Irish tourist’s photo of O’Connell Street in Dublin. Then the car models and tobacco advertising signs provide evidence of a bygone era. Is that a nifty Ford Anglia I see at the back of the queue for the traffic lights? But most of all, there is a symbol of British imperialism in the distance which would not remain intact in 5 years time. Yes – Lily captured one of the few colour photos showing Nelson’s Pillar just beyond the Dublin GPO. In March 1966, Republican activist’s decided to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising by blowing the despised figure of Admiral Horatio Nelson from his plinth. This statue had been completed in 1809, a full 34 years before London could boast about their famous Nelson’s Column.

1966 March - Nelson's Pillar, O'Connell St, Dublin

                                        Oh dear …. where’s Horatio gone?

Irish Republicans still proudly declare that their bombing expertise in 1966 caused no serious injuries or collateral damage to property in the busy Dublin city centre. Yet,1966 March - Nelson's Pillar remains, O'Connell St, Dublin when the finest British Army ordnance experts concocted a plan to demolish the remains of Nelson’s Pillar later that year, the resultant “controlled” explosion damaged shop fronts and buildings up and down Dublin’s main thoroughfare.

Nelson’s head was later stolen by Irish students (from its Dublin custodians) and secretly displayed as a trophy of war at many a Republican fund-raising concert throughout the following years.

Time to catch the ferry back home.

Those Irish know how to have a good laugh

 

 

 

 

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1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 11)

Where would the Parkers head next after Donegal, after leaving the Republic and heading into Northern Ireland in 1961? Yes – of course – to see the famous Giant’s Causeway. And what a great photo Lily took ….

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  “It’s a load of old basalt” says Gordon

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                                                Fancy a Bushmills, Lily?

Onwards, round the North Antrim coast road past Cushendall, approaching Waterfoot. Here it is – one of the most photographed natural arches which is actually “unnatural.”

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This arch, cut into the red sandstone rocks at Red Bay, was designed and constructed by Francis Turnley to allow faster and more direct access between Carnlough, Waterfoot and Cushendall. Perhaps Gordon’s dad, John, remembered this image from the old Gallaher’s cigarette cards which featured Ireland’s most scenic places.

Red Bay

2015 Red Bay

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 10)

County Donegal …. continued

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Rosses Bay near Dungloe

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                                                                                                    The Atlantic Ocean at Cnoc Fola

 

 

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Cnoc Fola

again

 

 

 

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Children bringing up water from the Bloody Foreland

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Careful, Lily

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 9)

Next stop for the Parker family on their memorable tour of Ireland was County Donegal. Lily spotted a picture-perfect thatched cottage near Killybegs … and took a perfect picture.

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      Freshly cut hay meadows overlooking Killybegs Bay, County Donegal

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     Mighty cliffs overlooking the clear waters and white sand at Malin More

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                                           More haymaking out at Malin More

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How blue is the sea at Glen Head, Glencolmcille?

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                      Glengesh Pass looking very eerie in the evening gloom

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                                          A tranquil homestead near Glengesh

1961 Looking east from Glengesh, Co. Donegal

                   Looking east towards Ardara from Glengesh, County Donegal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 8)

To complete the second third of the Parkers’ 1961 summer holiday tour of Ireland, Lily Parker took out her camera as the car headed through my native county of Sligo. This is how Lily’s son, “young” Gordon Parker, came to share his unique photographic memories with me. 53 years after the event, Gordon explained that his London shopkeeper father, John, had been advised by Irish migrant customers to ensure that the family visited the small village of Aclare if they wished to see one of the finest livestock trading fairs in the west of Ireland. It just so happens that I live on the outskirts of Aclare, and Gordon got in touch with me to ask if I would like to see how the village looked on Fair Day over fifty years ago. Obviously, I wrote a positive reply back in an instant, and a further exchange of e-mails led to Gordon offering his complete 1961 photo collection for public viewing.

Aclare market, Co. Sligo

                                     Aclare August Fair Day in full swing

The blonde haired schoolboy looking into the camera has been identified as Gerard Hart, 53 years ago. Gerard now lives in nearby Ballina, but his son Patrick has returned to the Hart’s ancestral farming homestead in Cloongoonagh. The local schoolboys loved the Fair Days because they would be given the day off school. The young lads were employed to “guard” their family’s livestock when Dad went for a wander around the village to converse with friends – or probably to sneak into one of the many public houses for a jar or two of beer and whiskey. Well – a good sale had to be celebrated in traditional style!

1961 August - Aclare, Sligo

               The ass-carts of Aclare Fair carrying sheep and lambs for sale

London teenager Gordon is very conspicuous in Aclare village in his trendy blue 60’s holiday shirt. Below is a replica image of Aclare as it looks today.

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

                                  Where have all the donkeys gone?

To complete their special day in my home county, the Parkers hit the high road from south Sligo and headed up north to Sligo town where they enjoyed an afternoon at the races. Lily attempted to capture the excitement of the big race by taking two shots of the thoroughbreds in action. The second shot of the blurred race winner galloping past the post certainly demonstrates the great speed at which champion horses can travel.

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1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 7)

Another day, another island to explore for the Parker family. Well, not quite. Achill Island in north-west Mayo is firmly attached to the mainland of Ireland by a short bridge spanning the waters of Achill Sound. For decades, tourists have flocked to Achill Island and followed the well-signposted Atlantic Drive route around this spectacular outpost. ????????????????????????????????????Natural displays of wild flowers and heather compete with clifftop views of the roaring North Atlantic to be the highlight of an unforgettable sight-seeing journey. It’s too difficult to pick a winner. There are dozens of stunning candidates.

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                                        The famous Atlantic Drive of Achill Island …

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     … where sheep keep you company, and cause the occasional traffic jam

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                One of many unspoilt beaches on Achill, this one at Doogort Bay

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The windswept farmhouse home of some typical hardy Achill Islanders near Keel

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Heading back inland, the relative tranquility of Lough Cullin at Pontoon, North Mayo

 

 

 

 

 

 

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 6)

Another day of adventure in the wild west of Ireland for the Parker family concluded with a drive north through County Mayo, from the shores of Killary Harbour in Connemara to the causeway approach of Achill Island.

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The Bundorragha River flowing spectacularly down into the Killary Harbour fjord

 

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                          Doo Lough at the head of the Bundorragha River

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Clew Bay near Croagh Patrick, the former realm of the Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley

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                 Still on the N59 road, Newport, on the way to Achill Island

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                                      Irish Travellers on the move

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              Time to take a break travelling the highways of County Mayo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 5)

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Seaweed ready for harvesting in Clifden Bay

For this leg of the Parkers’ holiday tour, the family car continued its way along the N59 road beyond Clifden in County Galway, heading for Killary Harbour.

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Kylemore Abbey on the banks of the Pollacappall Lough

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The Mweelrea mountain of County Mayo in the distance, beyond the Killary Fjord

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                     Looking back at the Maumturks range in County Galway

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Connemara ponies by Killary Harbour, the Republic of Ireland’s only glacial fjord

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Connacht’s highest mountain, Mweelrea in Mayo, overlooking Killary Harbour

 

 

 

 

 

 

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 4)

Between Oughterard & Maam Cross, Co. Galway

Farm boys at work and play on the road to Maam Cross

As the Parkers motored westwards into Connemara, the sights and scenes got very rural and rugged once again …..

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                                                                         Heading home from the market at Maam Cross

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                                                             Lough Corrib

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Turf sods drying on the banks of Lough Bofin in the shadows of the Twelve Pins, County Galway

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Ballynahinch Lake on the road to Clifden

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Glendalough, near Recess

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 3)

Galway Bay

If you ever go across the sea to Ireland,
then maybe at the closing of your day,
you can sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh,
and see the sun go down on Galway Bay.

Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream,
The women in the meadow making hay
Just to sit beside the turf fire in a cabin,
and watch the barefoot gosoons as they play.

For the breezes blowing o’er the sea’s from Ireland,
Are perfumed by the heather as they blow,
And the women in the uplands digging praties,
Speak a language that the strangers do not know.

 

Yet the strangers came and tried to teach us their ways,
And they scorned us just for being what we are,
But they might as well go chasin’ after moon beams,
or light a penny candle from a star.

 

And if there’s gonna be a life here after,
And faith somehow I’m sure there’s gonna be,
I will ask my God to let me make my Heaven,
In that dear land across the Irish sea.

 

I will ask my God to let me make my Heaven,
In my dear land across the Irish sea.

 

In my dear land across the Irish sea.

1961 Galway Bay

                          There’s no sun on Galway Bay in 1961

… but the sun shone gloriously as the Parkers arrived in the small Galway town of Oughterard (or Uachtar Ard in Irish). Powers Bar, with its appealing thatched roof is no more, but the Lake Hotel still stands after many refurbishments over the decades.

Oughterard of old

Oughterard of old

 

 

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 2)

The Parker family are still based in Killarney at this stage of their 1961 summer holiday. As tourists do today, a drive around the scenic Ring of Kerry was a must.

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                             The beautiful Lakes of Killarney

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           The Lakes of Killarney again – looking rather mystical

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                         Derrynane Bay on the Ring of Kerry

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                A photo from my favourite Peninsula – DINGLE

The Ring of Kerry is a dramatic scenic drive which must be tackled in an anti-clockwise direction. If you start from the Kenmare end, you will find that you are forever causing roadblocks for the large tour buses attempting to navigate the many hazardous bends on the narrow coastal road. And you will pay for your foolishness by being forced to edge your precious car out on to the cliff tops as everyone else creeps by on the landward side of the road, honking their horns in annoyance.

For me, the Dingle Peninsula just to the north of The Ring is even more spectacular, and a lot less congested by tour vehicles, even at the height of summer.

Next up … the Parkers leave Kerry and head north.

1961 Photographic Tour of Ireland (part 1)

Over the next few days, I am going to treat you to a unique Tour of Ireland captured on 61 marvelous photographs taken in the summer of ’61. This was the Parker family’s holiday album, and it has been kindly shared by Gordon Parker.

Gordon was aged about 15 years when his parents, John & Lily, carefully planned a road trip tour of Ireland as their summer break. Considering that the family was based in North London, with no Irish connections, this was quite an adventurous plan for the time in question.

KodachromeFilm_for_colour_slides

What makes this family holiday interesting for us is that Lily Parker had developed a keen interest in photography, so the whole tour was captured on Kodachrome II – a new camera film introduced specifically for the burgeoning colour slide market. I am no photography expert, but I find that the old slides are  quite unique and rich in warm colours, and they avoid the glare of modern digital snaps.

Thankfully, Lily’s son, Gordon Parker, has now painstakingly converted each 1961 slide into a 2014 digital image – so we can all re-live the highlights of the Parker’s 1961 summer holiday.

As with all family holiday shots, the majority of Lily’s pictures were scenic landscapes (which rarely change over the decades), but she did manage to capture several images of everyday Irish life from over 50 years ago which are very special, and which will bring back memories to many.

The Parkers route plan took them straight to the west coast. As with most Irish holidaymakers today, the vacation only kicked off in proper style when their car reached Kerry, arguably Ireland’s most scenic county. Lily did not take out her precious camera until the family had spent a night in Killarney.

1961 Gordon & John Parker near Killarney

John Parker & son, lost in               Kerry’s beauty

Her first shots of her husband and son, and two street scenes in Killarney town, are tentative and relatively normal. It seems like Lily needed to see the Lakes of Killarney to kick-start the creativity of her subsequent photographic images.

 

 

As you will see over the coming days, Lily Parker captured many, many special images of “dear old Ireland” in 1961.

 

 

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                      Everyday life in Killarney in 1961

 

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                                          Killarney Cathedral (through an alley)

 

 

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                                         The Gap of Dunloe (from Killarney)

 

 

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                                                                    Drung Hill

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                        The Gap of Dunloe from below Moll’s Gap, County Kerry