In recent months as the centenary of ‘The Rising’ approached a plethora of cards have been appearing for sale online and in salerooms. The black and white cards produced at the time do little for me as the pictures have appeared in numerous publications over the years. However, I include a selection below.
The destruction of Sackville/O’Connell Street
Much of the destruction of the street was – apparently – caused by British shelling in particular from the “Helga” gunboat on the Liffey. Miraculously the Nelson Pillar came through unscathed despite its proximity to the rebel HQ in the GPO.
An Eason & Son card using a Daily Sketch photograph presents a nightmarish scene. Note the incorrect date on the card.
Dublin’s citizens survey the aftermath of the rebellion.
Two very staged cards published by Eason & Son. I can’t identify the street on the first card but the flag scene is clearly at the base of the Parnell monument.
I’m all 1916-ed out now, but for those of you who want more information “Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion” by Charles Townshend is highly recommended.
The Larne gun-running incident saw a major importation of weapons from Germany to equip the recently formed Ulster Volunteer Force. The UVF were determined to prevent the implementation of Home Rule in Ireland and urgently needed weapons for their 90,000 strong ‘army‘. Thus it was that in the wee small hours of the 25th April, 1914 almost 25,000 rifles and 5 million rounds of ammunition were landed at Larne, Bangor and Donaghadee.
This artist card, posted barely two weeks after the event, captures well the scene as it must have unfolded at Bangor Harbour. Unsurprisingly no artist or publisher is indicated. The card was sold on eBay on the 18/3/16, fetching a tidy £148.66, and probably would have gone for more in an Irish saleroom. Start searching the attic!
Further information here: Larne Gun-Running
Yesterday (17/5/16) I spotted another card from the same stable on eBay, but of poorer quality and condition. Here it is below for your delectation.
Dunboy Castle deep in West Cork, on the Beara Peninsula, for many years a spectacular ruin was rebuilt during the height of the Celtic Tiger madness. It was intended that the castle would become a luxury 100-bedroom hotel, but the 2007 economic collapse intervened before the project could be completed. Today the semi-restored castle remains as a monument to the boom and with a far from certain future.
More here: Castles in the Air – Irish Examiner
Postcard by W.Lawrence, Dublin.
Left to right: A view of the castle during its lengthy period as a ruin and a more recent picture of its reincarnation. I have cropped the view of the ghastly, obligatory additional accommodation block!
The castle as it is presently constituted incorporates the fabric of an earlier house on the site dating from the 1740s, an extensive rebuild in the 1860s for Henry Lavallin-Puxley and, of course, the €50 million (!)) rebuild during the early noughties.
The castle was burnt by the IRA during the Troubles in June 1921 and the Puxley family took what compensation was on offer and left the country.
Daphne du Maurier’s 1943 novel ‘Hungry Hill‘ was based on the lives of the Puxley family of Dunboy Castle, their wealth generated from copper mining at nearby Allihies and the curse put on the family. Though the characters and placenames have been changed there’s no doubting where the inspiration for the novel came. In 1947 ‘Hungry Hill’ was made into a now long forgotten feature film by Brian Desmond Hurst starring Margaret Lockwood, Denis Price and Jean Simmons.
Another interesting piece about the early history and legends surrounding the castle: http://apassportaffair.com/2013/11/14/ravaged-abandoned-burned-osullivan-curse-puxley-manor/
I came across this extraordinary card on eBay last night, and despite having more than a passing interest in Irish/British history I had never heard of The Legion of Frontiersmen before. Card by H.Grahame Glen, Wortley, Leeds.
This is the clearest synopsis of the Legion that I could find online:
The Legion of Frontiersmen is a paramilitary group formed in Britain in 1905 by Roger Pocock, a former constable with the North West Mounted Police and Boer War veteran.
Prompted by fears of an impending invasion of Britain and the Empire, the organisation was founded as a field intelligence corps on a romanticised conception of the “frontier” and imperial idealism. Headquartered in London, branches of the Legion of Frontiersmen were formed throughout the empire to prepare patriots for war and to foster vigilance in peacetime. Despite persistent efforts, the Legion never achieved much official recognition.
Casualties in the First World War devastated the Legion of Frontiersmen, and except for a brief resurgence in the interwar period, a series of schisms and sectarianism prevented attempts to reinvigorate the movement. In the late 1930s, the Legion of Frontiersmen in Canada was formally affiliated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but after a schism split within the Canadian Frontiersmen, the RCMP severed formal ties. Various Legion of Frontiersmen groups still exist throughout the Commonwealth, but as a whole, it has been unable to define its niche in the post-imperial world.
An Irish branch was established on the 21st January, 1907 but more than that I can’t ascertain. A handbook of the Irish Organisation of the Legion of Frontiersmen may be viewed at the National Library.
Surprisingly, the Legion has outlived the Empire it was set up to protect and still exists in a number of incarnations today.
A couple of more Arthur Burkart & Co. hotel cards by “Jotter” popped up on eBay last week, but as luck would have it I wasn’t the only person to spot them. In the end I let the top one – “The Grand Hotel, Malahide” go to another bidder for $29 while I picked up the more interesting one – “Ross’ Victoria Hotel, Kingstown” for $19 incl.p+p. I had hoped to pick the two of them up for that price in total! However, I’m still happy as both cards are new to me and I now know to look out for the Grand Hotel one.
10/11/2016 – Patience rewarded and I picked up a nice clean copy of the Grand Hotel card on eBay for just £6.84.
I hit the jackpot last week with the purchase of 12, brand new, vintage cards from the elusive Scholastic Productions Co. (Belfast). The cards were erroneously listed on eBay as ‘Ireland Irish Art Coastal Scenes etc. Set of 12 Original Vintage Old Postcards’ but no mention of Scholastic, ACME or any artist by name and thus I was the only bidder. Total cost £19.00/€26 or just over €2 per card. I already have inferior quality duplicates of some of the cards and when these are sold-on the unit price to me will have dropped even further!
The cards date from c.1945/50 and were supplied by the publishers to A.E.Dickson, The Camera House, 2 Waterloo Place, Londonderry. They were sold as a set of twelve cards and came in a pre-printed envelope. Despite being 65/70 years old I don’t think that they can ever have been out of the envelope except for the eBay seller to photograph them! They are in really exceptional condition – some of the best quality cards in my collection – and feature the artists Maurice Wilks, Terence Henry, and David Livingston.
Left to right: ‘The Road to the Mountains‘ by David Livingston (No.7016) and ‘A Peaceful Bay in Ireland‘ by Maurice C. Wilks (No.6001)
Constant trawling of eBay, Delcampe, eBid etc. can be a real chore but when it bears fruit, it makes it all worth while…
Miss Ireland 1929
Clare Russell Stritch became ‘Miss Ireland‘ in 1929 and then entered the Miss Europe 1929 contest but sadly didn’t go on to win. Later in 1929 she decided to enter the ‘The International Pageant of Pulchritude’ which had been established as an annual event in Galveston, Texas in 1926. However, it was not to be as the the Roman Catholic Bishop of Galvestone, C.E.Byrne, stirred up a storm against the event, and stated that ‘no decent girl would parade half-naked in front of the mob’. Despite being of Church of Ireland faith Clare Stritch did not enter the competition which went on to be won by an Austrian girl Lisl Goldarbeiter. The newspapers dubbed her ‘Miss Universe‘ as she was the first non-American to win the competition and the name stuck. Ms.Goldarbeiter went on to marry an Austrian, Fritz Spielmann, heir to a silk necktie fortune in Vienna. World War .II. brought an end to their dream existence and she ended her days in Budapest where she died in 1997.
Snippets from a 2006 documentary about the 1929 contest – “Miss Universe 1929 – Lisl Goldarbeiter. A Queen in Wien” are available on YouTube – here’s one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prFGpK4xy9o
Clare Stritch on the other hand has not left much of a footprint – at least not one that I have discovered so far. She was born in Dublin in 1901 and lived at 17 North Great Georges Street. Her father, John Russell Stritch, was a well-known solicitor and Swedish Consul. Hopefully more information will come to light.
The card above was published by A.N. of Paris.
With all the hype surrounding the new Star Wars movie it seems like a good time for this. The Skelligs are a place best left for the birds in my opinion, but at least there’s no possibility of the OPW building an ‘interpretive‘ centre out there.
Above: a John Hinde card postally used in 1995. There seems to be precious few postcards of any of our offshore islands – unless you know otherwise?
Sunday 8th November, 2015 and after a premature start we’re off and the blog is live to the whole world.
As you will see the site is still very much at a development stage and I haven’t the faintest idea where it will end up. I’m a novice to postcard collecting and have only come to it through an interest in Irish landscape art – so bear with me.
Speaking of art, I recently purchased the ultra rare “Jotter” postcard (above) on eBay for all of €2.24! It’s one of a number that he painted in the Dun Laoghaire area and it’s the first one that I’ve ever come across on eBay or elsewhere.
As for the reason for the blog, well there’s nothing else available – unless you know something that I’ve missed in my searching. Sadly, there seems to be no postcard collectors club in the Republic at all and I can’t make contact with anybody involved with the Northern Ireland Postcard Club.
So, for the time being I will continue to plough my solitary furrow and post my own finds, research and pictures. I would be delighted to receive any contributions, suggestions and, inevitably, corrections. An email to me at email@example.com will always receive a reply.
Strange how things happen, but just in the last week my youngest son brought this postcard home from school for me to send to my local parliamentary representative. Much more impact from a sackful of cards than a few thousand easily forgotten/deleted emails.