In Our Own Image: Photography in Ireland 1839 to the Present at The Printworks, Dublin Castle


In Our Own Image: Photography in Ireland 1839 to the Present at The Printworks, Dublin Castle Date/Time
Date(s) - 01/12/2021 - 06/02/2022

The Printworks, Dublin Castle




Opening hours: 11am–5.45pm, Monday-Saturday, Sunday 1-pm


Curated by Gallery of Photography Ireland and the Office of Public Works, Dublin Castle,

In Our Own Image presents the first comprehensive historical and critical survey of photography

from across the island of Ireland. This landmark centenary exhibition charts how the medium has

both reflected and shaped Irish cultural identity, from the work of the earliest photographic

pioneers up to the emergence of a recognisably modern state. Throughout the period of intense

change that characterised Ireland in the late 19th and into the mid-20th century, we see how

photography served as a mirror for shifting experiences of what it meant to be Irish. More than

that, it also defined the way we saw ourselves, creating an image of life on the island of Ireland that

still forms part of our identity today.


In Our Own Image reveals the depth of our shared photographic heritage, viewed through

important works by key photographers held in leading archives, cultural institutions, museums, and

private collections.

– It charts the contribution of early photographic pioneers such as Augusta Dillon, Mary Rosse, and

the Tenisons. Photography’s role as eyewitness to history is explored through the work of Robert

French, William Lawrence, A.R. Hogg and others.

– Photographs of life in the west of Ireland by J.M. Synge and surveys of heritage sites by Robert

Welch and Jane Shackleton highlight the contribution of photography to the Celtic Revival


– Photography’s role in constructing popular representations of Irishness is outlined through the

production of romantic images to feed the new tourist market.

– The use of photography as reportage during the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War

contrasts official viewpoints with the more nuanced perspectives of commercial and citizen


– The concluding section presents an overview of the key social and infrastructural developments

that defined the emergence of the modern Irish state framed through the vision of creative Irish



In Our Own Image: Photography in Ireland, 1839 to the Present is the first in a series of

exhibitions that will serve to establish the canon of photography in Ireland, from the earliest

pioneering works through to a survey of contemporary photography by Ireland’s many acclaimed

photographic artists.


Supported by Dublin City Council Commemorative Committee, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts,

Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Heritage Council of Ireland, the Office of Public

Works, Dublin Castle, RTÉ Supporting the Arts and Nerve Centre/Creative Centenaries NI. Presented by Gallery of

Photography Ireland and the Office of Public Works, Dublin Castle, in partnership with the National Library of

Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, National Museums NI, the National Archives, PRONI, RTÉ Archives, UCD

Archives, Irish Folklore Commission, University College Cork, Creative Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland.


Opening hours: 11am–5.45pm, Monday-Saturday, Sunday 1-pm, admission is free. Please note that due

to programmed events in The Printworks, the exhibition will be inaccessible on Dec 9 and Feb 1.


In Our Own Image: Photography in Ireland, 1839 to the Present has been made possible by

contributions from: the Estate of Fergus Bourke; Irish Jesuit Archive/Fr. Francis Browne SJ Collection;

Clare County Library; Davison and Associates; the estate of Dennis Dineen; the estate of Bill Doyle; ESB

Archives; Arthur Fields: Man on Bridge; J. Paul Getty Museum; the Estate of Helen Hooker O’Malley;

John Hinde Collection; Alen MacWeeney; Magnum Photos; New York Public Library; Parsons Family,

Birr Castle; Photo Album of the Irish; Queen’s University, Belfast; Royal Collection Trust, Royal Society

of Antiquaries of Ireland; Sean Sexton Collection; the Estate of Jane W. Shackleton; Tipperary Museum

of Hidden History; Trinity College, Dublin; Waterford City and County Archives.


Curated by Gallery of Photography Ireland with the Office of Public Works, Dublin Castle.

Gallery of Photography Ireland would like to thank Dr Myles Campbell, Research and Interpretation

Officer (Curator) for the Office of Public Works at Dublin Castle and Mary Heffernan, General Manager

at the Office of Public Works, National Historic Properties.


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