A glimpse into the Irish “Big House” and those who worked on country estates.

Unless your family were among the landed gentry or were fortunate enough to own their own farm, many of our Irish ancestors would have worked in the employ of the local “Big House,” the large estates located in almost every community in Ireland that held the country’s most wealthy families.

A mother and children in the yard. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

A mother and children in the yard. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

From people working in the kitchens to working on the upkeep of the estate, every day was filled with ensuring the estate ran smoothly while the family enjoyed their large home and roaming gardens.

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A man carrying creel. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

A man carrying creel. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Transporting pigs in a horse and cart. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Transporting pigs in a horse and cart. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

These photos, in particular, are taken from the Dillon Family who provided the Clonbrock Collection to the National Library of Ireland.

Dipping sheep. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Dipping sheep. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

It includes over 2,000 glass plates spanning the years 1860-1930 which were mainly taken by the Dillon family, Barons Clonbrock, of Ahascragh, Co. Galway, a family of enthusiastic amateur photographers.

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The family home. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

The family home. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

The images provide a substantial and varied pictorial record of life on a landed estate.

Mowing the lawn. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Mowing the lawn. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Shearing sheep. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Shearing sheep. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

In these incredible images from 1900 on the Dillon Family estate, we see their workers mowing fields, stacking hay and transporting livestock. 

Stacking hay. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Stacking hay. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

It even shows an image of the job of sheep shearing and dipping, which protects the sheep from infections. 

Men at work. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Men at work. Image: Dillon Family/National Library of Ireland

Did your family work on an estate? Tell us their story in the comments section, below. 

Unloading hay at the Dillon Family estate. National Library of Ireland