The Photo Album of Ireland touring exhibition at Markethouse Arts Centre, Monaghan

Funded by the Arts Council Touring Award
  August –
October 2014

© Clerkin Family Archive

Photo albums give a fascinating insight into our private histories. They can often reveal details about how people lived and worked that official historical records simply overlook. In a ground-breaking initiative developed by The Gallery of Photography in partnership with Monaghan County Council Heritage & Arts Services, the Photo Album of Ireland project is digitising and sharing cherished family photographs and private photo collections. This emerging, democratic archive provides an accessible record of our rich photographic social history. It is a celebration of ordinary life as viewed from the perspective of private individuals.

The Photo Album of Ireland focuses on the role photography plays in constructing and commemorating our histories. The exhibition invites you to explore the wealth of ordinary and extraordinary photographs – from informal snapshots, studio portraits and ‘official’ photographs through to substantial individual archives – many shown here to the public for the first time. Spanning the entire history of analogue photography, it includes rare ambrotypes and dageurreotypes from the 1850s, Victorian cartes-de-visites, box brownie photographs, family albums, colour instamatic snapshots, polaroids and photobooth selfies from the 1980s.

A cross-section of over 30 individuals and families from all over Ireland have contributed to date. The archive will continue to develop. You can follow our ongoing research on the project website: and through the series of programmed events, exhibitions and outdoor projections around Ireland.