Wandering Wicklow with Father Browne

Father Browne is well known for his collection of Titanic photographs. He spent the rest of his life taking photographs all around Ireland and beyond. He made frequent trips to Wicklow where he photographed the landscape and people.
Date Published :
December 2020
Publisher :
Messenger Publications
Editor :
Robert O'Byrne
Contributor(s) :
Francis Browne
Illustration :
100 b/w photos, 20 color photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781788122689
Pages : 120
Dimensions : 9.7 X 7.4 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Ireland’s finest photographer in the 20th century, Fr Frank Browne repeatedly visited County Wicklow across almost half a century. Over that time, he had the opportunity to capture images of this part of the country as it underwent change and yet, somehow, retained its essential character. The earliest photograph, for example, is of the Dargle Valley, a spot that looks much the same today as it did when Fr Browne first went there in 1910. Other pictures show landmark beauty spots such as the Powerscourt Waterfall and the Sugarloaf Mountain, as well as the rugged landscape of the Sally Gap. The monastic remains of Glendalough are exquisitely caught, along with the still waters of Lough Tay.

But while his eye was able to spot the timeless beauty of this rural idyll, Fr Browne also noted the modern and innovative, capturing key moments in the development of a newly-independent Ireland, such as the construction of the Poulaphouca Reservoir in the late 1930s and workers in the newly-opened Solus Teoranta Lightbulb Factory in Bray. Cars are few, but bicycles plentiful in his photographs. The advent of modern technology contrasts with traditional pastimes: a horse fair in Blessington, sheep dipping on a farm, a thatcher repairing the roof of an old cottage. He shows bustling preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress of June 1932, along with commercial activity in towns such as Arklow and Wicklow. New schools are shown being built in the first, older pursuits like fishing continue in the second. And Fr Browne’s ability to gain access everywhere means he was able to photograph many of Wicklow’s most famous historic houses, like Powerscourt before its interiors were tragically destroyed by fire, and Shelton Abbey which he visited just a year before the building and its contents were sold.

The book is divided into five/six sections, each offering readers the chance to follow in Fr Browne’s footsteps and explore a different part of the county.

About The Author

Robert O’Byrne is a writer and lecturer specialising in the fine and decorative arts in Ireland, and the author of more than a dozen books, among them 'Luggala: The Story of a Guinness House' and 'Romantic Irish Homes'. A former Vice-President of the Irish Georgian Society, he is currently a trustee of the Apollo Foundation and the Artists Collecting Society. He writes a monthly column for Apollo magazine, and is also a contributor to The Burlington Magazine and the Irish Arts Review. Since 2012 he has written an award-winning blog, www.theirishaesthete.com and a book of his photographs from this – 'The Irish Aesthete: Ruins of Ireland' - was published in March 2019.

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