Old hand-colored photos of Ireland’s heritage sites give glimpse into past

Muckross Abbey, Killarney, Co. Kerry.

There is a timeless quality to Ireland that attracts visitors from all over the world. In every county, history is literally all around you, from the ancient stone circles in Drombeg, County Cork, to Reginald's Tower in Waterford City, which dates from the 13th century.

The Irish Archaeology website features a collection of vintage photos of Ireland's Heritage Sites that were taken between 1890 and 1900. The photos have been hand-tinted, which lends them a fascinating, contemporary look. Except for the old-fashioned autos and clothing styles visible in some of the scenes, the photos could have been taken yesterday.

The photos are part of the Library of Congress collection.


01. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow: Founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century AD, this was one of Ireland’s most important early monasteries.

Ross Island

02. Ross Castle, Killarney, Co. Kerry. Built in the late 15th century, this castle consists of a square tower house, with bartizans on two of its corners.

The Quays, Waterford
03. The Quays, Waterford.

Sackville Street

04. O’Connell Street, Dublin. This street is Dublin’s main thoroughfare and prior to 1924 it was known as Sackville Street.

Patrick Street, Cork City.

05. Patrick Street, Cork City: Cork’s main shopping street.

Reginald's Tower

06. Devenish Island, Co. Fermanagh. One of the finest monastic sites in Northern Ireland, Devenish island contains at least three early churches.

Reginald's Tower, Waterford City

07 Reginald’s Tower, Waterford City. Built in the beginning of the 13th century this circular defensive tower is the only surviving building in Ireland that retains its original Viking name.

Blackrock Castle, Cork

08 Blackrock Castle, Cork. Located on the outskirts of Cork city this ‘modern’ castle was designed by James and G.R. Pain and built between 1827-29.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

09. Carrick-a-Reid Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim. This narrow rope suspension bridge connects the tiny island of Carrick to the mainland.

Cliffs of Moher

10. The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare. These iconic cliffs are located on the southwestern edge of the Burren region.

*Originally published in 2013.