People of Old Ireland: Stunning Historical Photos of Irish People From 1885-1920

In the late 19th century, Ireland was going difficult times, as the people were still suffering from the effects of the Great famine. The population plummeted and Ireland had a higher emigration rate than any other part of Europe. In the year 1899, more than 32,000 people fled from the country in search of seasonal labor and other jobs that could help sustain their families at home.

People were living below the poverty line in the rural areas in farmsteads and nasty urban tenements. It was an era when some Irish people still lived in mud cabins. During the late 19th century, the potato crop failed many as during the Great Famine. Infant death rates were also high. Almost one in every four children born in Dublin died before their first birthday. In Belfast, during one four-week period in 1900, there were as many deaths of children less than one-year-old as there were of adults over sixty years of age.

At the turn of the 20th-century things began to change. The average life expectancy climbed significantly, however; century a normal life span was still some twenty years shorter than it is today. The Irish Home Rule movement was at its peak. In 1919, war broke out between republican separatists and British Government forces. Eventually, the British Government signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which resulted in five-sixths of Ireland seceding from the United Kingdom.

Take a look at these amazing historical photos of Irish people from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

#2 Four boys at the “Rocking Stone” at Islandmagee, County Antrim. 1870.

#5 Girls of the Ursuline Convent in Waterford pose in their gymnasium, 1908.

#10 A young member of the Irish Guards at Waterford Barracks with the regiment’s mascot, an Irish Wolfhound, 1917.

#11 Workers at a mine in Knockmahon, County Waterford, 1906.

#13 Crew members of the Norwegian vessel The Mexican, which ran aground on the Keragh Islands, 1914.

Crew members of the Norwegian vessel The Mexican, which ran aground on the Keragh Islands, 1914.

The Fethard Lifeboat Helen Blake attempted to rescue them during a storm but was destroyed with the loss of 9 of the 14 lifeboatmen.

#14 Men on horseback in front of Kate Kearney’s Cottage in Kerry, 1900.

#15 Three generations of a family pose beside their home at Alexander Street, Waterford, 1924.

#19 J. Morgan’s butcher shop on Broad Street, Waterford, 1916.

#21 People in costume at the Theatre Royal in Waterford, 1914.

#22 Women sell tourist trinkets and books on Fionn Mac Cumhaill’s Wishing Chair at the Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, 1900.

#24 A Royal Welsh Fusilier with the Regimental Goat, and his strap-on crest, 1887.

#27 Sir Hercules Robert Langrishe, 5th Baronet Langrishe and his dog, 1913.

#28 A wool operation in Leenane, County Galway, 1910.

#31 Sailors on the Sarah McDonald at Waterford, 1913.

#32 Marconi Wireless Telegraph Station, Malin Head, County Donegal, 1902.

#34 The Riley family, survivors of the sinking of the Lusitania, in Cobh, County Cork, 1915.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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