30 November 2017
By Bryan Smyth
The Cork City and County Archives is delighted to announce that it has received the donation of the photographic archive of Anthony Barry (1901-1983), with the kind assistance of the Barry family. The collection includes over 5,000 original photographic images of 1960s and 1970s Cork city and county captured by the former Lord Mayor.
Anthony Barry is remembered as the owner of a small grocery business in Bridge Street and Princes Street, Cork, that would later specialise in teas. Under Barry’s son Peter, the business would grow into the major household name we know today as Barry’s Tea.
Under the government of WT Cosgrave, Anthony worked as election agent and would later be elected TD for Cork Borough at the 1954 and 1961 general elections. Barry served then as Lord Mayor of Cork from 1961 to 1962. It is from this time that he began producing an extensive collection of photographs of the people, streets, docks and river of his native city.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said: “Everyone at the Cork City and County Archives would like to thank the kind generosity of the Barry family in ensuring this special archive is made a permanent and public research resource in Cork. Viewing these photographs is like opening a door and finding yourself at the centre of 1960s Cork”.
The unique collection of photographs capture Cork at a period of great transition, perhaps best demonstrated in the fact the collection comprises both black and white and colour images of the city. Areas such as Merchant’s Quay, Patrick Street, and the Coal Quay bear witness to the businesses and residences of Cork past, with dock-workers, shoppers and ‘shawlies’ amongst the many subjects of interest. The collection would be significant alone in the fact it illustrates a city through the lens of a former mayor, but what is most striking is Barry’s sense of clarity, purpose, and a keen eye for the subject matter at hand: his city and his people.
The archive collection is in the process of being catalogued, with over 200 photographic albums transferred to the City and County’s archive repository in Blackpool. The cataloguing process is by all accounts a massive preservation project in its own right. The albums contain over 5,000 original 1960s and 1970s photographic prints. These images are being specially digitised and repackaged to international archival standard, in order that they can be preserved and made accessible for future Cork generations.
In the first phase of the project, several hundred images from the archive are publicly accessible on the archive’s online catalogue (www.corkarchives.ie ).