History of Ireland in pictures

The Lensmen Photographic Agency was established by Andrew Farren and Padraig MacBrian in Dublin in 1952 and quickly became Ireland’s premier photographic agency. Over six decades, Lensmen has captured the essence of Irish life with stunning and thought-provoking photography.

The Lensmen collection offers a unique insight into the political, cultural and everyday events of life in Ireland over six decades. It showcases an era of major change and the emergence of modern Ireland.

We aim to preserve this unique and historically important collection of old Irish photos for future generations. Any proceeds from sales of prints and digital copies are re-invested into the development of the Irish Photo Archive, helping to ensure the preservation of these images for posterity.

Nelson Mandela

President Patrick Hillery welcomed Nelson Mandela to Áras an Uachtaráin on 2nd July 1990.
Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, activist and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. In 1993 he also received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Farewell Kiss

If you are looking for a unique gift you can give your special person on Valentine’s Day, this romantic vintage image of a farewell kiss at Dublin Airport in 1952 might be what you’ve been looking for!

Muhammad Ali vs Al “Blue” Lewis at Croke Park

A beautifully framed boxing photograph of Muhammad Ali vs Al “Blue” Lewis at Croke Park, Dublin, on 19th July 1972 will excite every man interested in sports.

Mary O’Hara

Irish singer and harpist Mary O’Hara pictured at Clontarf on 28th May 1954 before leaving for South Africa.
O’Hara greatly influenced generations of Irish female singers and others of the Folk revival period.

Gipsies in a traditional horse-drawn

Gipsies in a traditional horse-drawn, highly decorated wagon arrive at Ballinasloe Horse Fair in 1952.
Irish vintage photographs are the perfect gift idea for someone interested in photography.

Unemployment rally

On 3rd April 1957, some building workers came together at the Werburgh Street Labour Exchange in Dublin to discuss the prospects of finding work. As they thought that the only thing they could do was to make the unemployed demanding work, they borrowed a chair from a nearby shop and started a public meeting. From that aroused an Unemployed Protest Committee.

The 1950s Ireland in pictures

An evocative collection of photographs of the customs, fashions, sporting events, everyday family and working lives, celebrity visitors, meaningful times, high days and holy days of the simpler decades in our country’s history.

The 1960s Ireland in pictures

Two of Ireland’s premier photographers, The Lensmen, caught a decade of rapid change. Covers everything from the visits of President Kennedy and The Beatles to lifestyle, fashion and sport, as well as the start of unrest in Northern Ireland. It will evoke memories of a bygone age.

The 1970s Ireland in pictures

A nostalgic and thought-provoking collection of photographs that bring to life the ordinary and extraordinary events of a fast-changing decade in Irish life. Images of triumphs and tragedies, political upheavals, noted visitors and sad departures remind us of how we were in different times.

The 1980s Ireland in pictures

Ireland was very different in the 1980s, though it’s not long ago. This powerful collection of photographs documents the triumphs and tragedies, the personalities and places, and the setbacks and breakthroughs of a pivotal decade in Irish life.


Rolling Stones

“Charlie is My Darling” is a Rolling Stones album, directed by Peter Whitehead and
filmed in Ireland during the band’s tour in September and April of 1965.

We can find DVDs that are intimate, behind-the-scenes diaries of life on the road with the young Rolling Stones, documenting the early frenzy of their fans and the riots their live performances incited during the early years of their touring careers.

There is also a stunning 42-page Collector’s Edition hardcover book that includes 14 never seen before, and painstakingly restored exclusive photographs, including the key art, of the band from the Irish Photo Archive/Lensmen Photo Archive.

In our store Irish Photo Archives, you can purchase pictures of the Rolling Stones
that were taken by the Lensmen agency.

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