Photographed in 1946, two little girls and a little boy are all grown up and have been located in New York, Chicago, and County Kerry, where it all began. 

There was great delight across social media when two of the little girls from the front cover of Old Ireland in Colour, taken in Kerry in 1946, were identified recently. Published in 2020, Old Ireland in Colour, by John Breslin & Dr. Sarah-Anne Buckley celebrates the rich history of Ireland and the Irish through the color restoration of stunning images of all walks of Irish life, and the Irish abroad, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The book cover of Old Ireland in Colour.

The book cover of Old Ireland in Colour.

On St. Stephen’s Day 2020, the authors, Breslin and Buckley, received photographs of one Kathleen Ryle, née Kavanagh, proudly holding a copy of the book. She received a copy of the book for Christmas from one of her children who, having spotted it on Facebook, recognized their mother as one of the little girls on the book cover. Kathleen has lived in New York for many years.

Then in February, Eileen Fergus, née Sullivan, was also identified. Eileen lives in Chicago. Like Kathleen, Eileen is hale and hearty, and instantly recognizable.

Kathleen Rye and Eileen Fergus holding their copies of Old Ireland in Colour.

Kathleen Rye and Eileen Fergus holding their copies of Old Ireland in Colour.

Finally, a few weeks later, there came a photo of Sean O’Sullivan, taken through the window of his hospital room in County Kerry, by his niece Mary.

These are the three surviving individuals from the cover, and they were all overwhelmed to see themselves on a best-selling book cover.

Sean O’Sullivan holding his copy of Old Ireland in Colour.

Sean O’Sullivan holding his copy of Old Ireland in Colour.

Merrion Press, the publisher of this book said in a statement: "This story also reflects the very emotional responses we received from the book from families with members who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, who had very happy, poignant reactions to receiving the book. The book also played a happy role in the daily lives of elderly people isolated in hospitals and care homes during lockdowns."

The book, Old Ireland in Colour, explores the country's history through photos from the chaos of the Civil War to the simple beauty of the islands. Each image has been exquisitely transformed and every page is bursting with life.

Using a combination of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology and his own historical research, John Breslin has meticulously colorized these pictures with breathtaking attention to detail and authenticity. 

With over 170 photographs from all four provinces, and accompanied by fascinating captions by historian Sarah-Anne Buckley, Old Ireland in Colour revitalizes scenes readers thought they knew and brings Ireland's past back to life before their eyes.

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Originally published in March 2021.

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