Amazing Historical Photographs Showing Life in Dublin, Ireland at the Turn of the Century

JJ Clarke, from Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, took the photographs between 1897 and 1904, when he was a medical student in Dublin. Dr Clarke’s photojournalistic approach to his subjects allowed him to capture vivid scenes from the daily lives of Dublin’s men, women and children.

Compelling in themselves, the images also show us how the city looked to writer James Joyce. His best known works – the short story collection Dubliners, and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses – are all set around this time, when Joyce too was a young student fascinated by the world around him.

Many of JJ Clarke’s photographs show Dubliners making their way along the city streets, or taking a moment’s rest. His images have a spontaneity and “snapshot” quality which is very rare in photographs of this time.

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, it is in the province of Leinster and the Eastern and Midland Region. It is bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains, a part of the Wicklow Mountains range. At the 2016 census, it had an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the traditional County Dublin as a whole was 1,347,359. The population of the Greater Dublin Area was 1,904,806.

There is archaeological debate regarding precisely where and when Dublin originated, with a settlement established by the Gaels during or before the 7th century CE, and a second, Viking, settlement, following. As the small Kingdom of Dublin, the city grew, and it became Ireland’s principal settlement after the 12th century Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century and was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire and the sixth largest in Western Europe after the Acts of Union in 1800. Following independence in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, later renamed Ireland in 1937.

Dublin is a contemporary and historical centre for Irish education, arts and culture, administration and industry. As of 2018 the city was listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city, with a ranking of “Alpha minus”, which places it as one of the top thirty cities in the world. (Wikipedia)

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