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Stunning Photographs From 1880’s Ireland Can Be Seen in a New Light

Photography By
Ross Castle, II, Killarney. County Kerry, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Ross Castle, II, Killarney. County Kerry, Ireland (Library of Congress)

 

These breathtaking images of Ireland from more than a century ago, with vibrant hues, may look like they were brought back by a time traveler with a modern-day photo app.  But the photos were actually taken before the invention of color photography. The postcard-style shots were infused with color using a process called Photochrom.

The time-consuming technique was invented by a Swiss printing company in the 1880s, a time when color photography was still not available commercially.

It involved a limestone tablet coated with light-sensitive emulsion that was put under the sun and a photo negative to rest — sometimes for hours. Different stones were created for different hues. The final product was a combination of many stones and different colors — just enough to capture the lush greenery of Ireland’s countryside or the blue mist steaming from a quiet lake.

 

The Quays, Waterford. County Waterford, Ireland between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900 (Library of Congress)
The Quays, Waterford. County Waterford, Ireland between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900 (Library of Congress)
Glenoe Village. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Glenoe Village. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Phoenix Park, Dublin. County Dublin, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Phoenix Park, Dublin. County Dublin, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Left: Glencar Fall. County Sligo; Right: Poulaphuca Fall. County Wicklow (Library of Congress)
Left: Glencar Fall. County Sligo; Right: Poulaphuca Fall. County Wicklow (Library of Congress)
The Dargle Bridge. County Wicklow, Ireland (Library of Congress)
The Dargle Bridge. County Wicklow, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Blarney Castle. County Cork, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Blarney Castle. County Cork, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Glenariff. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Glenariff. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Sackville Street and O'Connell Bridge, Dublin. County Dublin, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Sackville Street and O’Connell Bridge, Dublin. County Dublin, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Patrick Street (i.e., St. Patrick Street), Cork. County Cork, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Patrick Street (i.e., St. Patrick Street), Cork. County Cork, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Menawn Cliffs, Achill. County Mayo, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Menawn Cliffs, Achill. County Mayo, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Rope Bridge, Carrick-a-Rede. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Rope Bridge, Carrick-a-Rede. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Pleaskin Head, Giant's Causeway. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Pleaskin Head, Giant’s Causeway. County Antrim, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Bray, II. County Wicklow, Ireland (Library of Congress)
Bray, II. County Wicklow, Ireland (Library of Congress)

-RealClearLife