Scroll down this page to read about past exhibitions.

An Island Portrait


This temporary exhibition contained a small selection of the photographic collection of the Blasket Centre Archive, and it was assembled in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Centre. It is a unique and authentic collection of Blasket photographs, some of which have not been widely seen to date. It is a visual feast of emotive imagery and also a visual record of a lost community, of which only a few individuals still survive.

Download the exhibition brochure here.

The Irish Headhunter: The Photographic Albums of Charles R. Browne

3 May 2012 – 23 June 2012

‘The Irish Headhunter’ exhibition represented one of the most important photographic archives to come into the public domain in a long time. It was drawn from photographs collected by Charles R. Browne (1867 – 1931), a G.P. and anthropologist from Dublin who surveyed communities in the remotest parts of Ireland between 1891 and 1900. The photographs were filed in a series of albums, six of which survive and are held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin (TCD). They were exhibited for the first time ever with the permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin.

The Browne archive is singular in terms of its depiction of life in the west of Ireland in the 1890s. The difference between these and other photographs of the same time lies in the systematic way Browne recorded his subjects, all part of the anthropometric and ethnographic methodologies used in the surveys. The photographs feature, amongst others, Seán ‘The Common Noun’ Ó Dálaigh and all the schoolchildren in Vicarstown / Baile Bhiocáire, Dún Chaoin; the first photographs of the people of The Great Blasket Island / An Blascaod Mór. The naming of subjects is one of the most striking features of Browne’s albums. Many people have not been named but Dáithí de Mórdha has been able to identify a young Pádraig Ó Catháin, King of the Blasket, and An tOileánch, Tomás Ó Criomhthain. It is probable that many more people will identify their great great grandparents during the run of this exhibition. It is hoped that these names can be permanently added to the library descriptions of the originals.

Download the exhibition brochure here. Read an article on the exhibition from the Irish Examiner here.

You may also be interested in viewing items from the permanent collection.