Labourer's hut, Gweedore

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Where: Donegal, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1887

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Yesterday we visited Parsonstown AKA Birr and the grandeur of Cumberlands column. Today we go north to Donegal and the poverty of a scraw hut near Gweedore.

With thanks to the community, and especially B-59 and sharon.corbet, our attention is drawn to the fact that this family appear in a series of images - with this shot highlighting their (hopefully) temporary shelter after eviction from their previous home. Sharon also highlights a Newspaper report on the evictions (and a subsequent geneological note) that a farm laborourer named Daniel O'Donnell had made a temporary turf hut for his family following their eviction. While we have no confirmation that this image is of the O'Donnell family, guliolopez delights in ending the story on a more positive note - that by the 1901 census, Daniel O'Donnell was living with his family locally - back in a stone house with at least 2 rooms, 3 windows, and thatched roof. Not the Ritz by any stretch, but hopefully an improvement from the temporary dwelling we see here...



Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: between 1888-1890

NLI Ref: L_ROY_01366

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 28873
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio glassnegative nationallibraryofireland ulster evictions eviction gweedore hut family sodbuilthut turfhut odonnell countydonegal knockastolar derryjournal hillestate lawrencephotographcollection

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    B-59

    • 04/Dec/2015 09:04:45

    According to www.historyireland.com/18th-19th-century-history/notice-t..., this is an evicted family, ca. 1887. The same family: catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000043129

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    Reconstructing Light

    • 04/Dec/2015 09:20:42

    Amazing. Powerful image. Bare feet there too. There must have been tough as nails.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 04/Dec/2015 09:39:36

    Here are some newspaper reports on the Gweedore evictions from the Derry Journal. From looking at the list of people at the bottom, there's a chance that this is "Daniel O'Donnell, wife and 3 small children, Knockastolar - evicted".

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 04/Dec/2015 10:26:09

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] There's a second megazoomable (but reversed) version available. (Attributed to Mason, again).

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    Swordscookie

    • 04/Dec/2015 10:45:09

    While this abode is made of the most basic materials available nonetheless it is a well constructed shelter with a window and a bothán for the animals presumably out the back!

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    Swordscookie

    • 04/Dec/2015 10:49:52

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] The same family but a different building Sharon! The Mason one is made of stone whereas this one was made of scraws or sods. Looking at the conditions in the house from which they were apparently evicted it was not that much of a comedown to the scraw hut! God help them but times must have been very tough indeed! EDIT: Sorry Sharon, I hadn't noticed B59's link! the bars across the doorway must have been to keep the animals out?

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    DannyM8

    • 04/Dec/2015 11:03:49

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/22885291474/in/dateposted/ Irish Times 26th September 1887 - Eviction Riots in Gweedore

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Dec/2015 11:51:50

    The area is scattered with tiny dwellings on both the 1900ish 25" and the 1840ish 6" OS maps.

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    guliolopez

    • 04/Dec/2015 13:37:37

    The window seems to match the size/shape of the one from their previous home. If the battering-ram was used in the eviction it would seem eminently reasonable to salvage at least a window for repurposing. If this is the same Daniel O'Donnell and family in the 1901 census at Knockastolar, (and there is only 1 Daniel O'Donnell in the area) then they are thankfully then living in a "2nd class" home. With brick walls, a thatched roof, at least 2 rooms, and 3 windows to the front. See building return #9. (This is a step up from their neighbours 3rd class homes.) So thankfully/hopefully this indicates that things had improved in the decades that followed....

  • profile

    sam2cents

    • 04/Dec/2015 14:55:14

    Tough times for people in those days. I strongly suspect this image will go viral. It really hits home.

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    ken Dowdall

    • 04/Dec/2015 15:17:23

    The resilience of the people to live in conditions such as this is a testament to our nation to survive and become strong. To stand on our own two feet, to raise our heads and never forget our past. It takes powerful photographs from our past like these to remind us of our identity and our heritage.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 04/Dec/2015 16:30:28

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] It may not be Daniel O'Donnell and family, they just seemed to fit best from the list that were given in those articles. It's possible that there were other families not listed.

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    guliolopez

    • 04/Dec/2015 17:57:39

    Thanks https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] - even still, even if the family pictured isn't Daniel O'Donnell, then it seems pretty likely that the family mentioned in your Derry Journal article had been rehoused (in a second class home) by the 1901 census. (And didn't have to move/emigrate). I'm taking it as a positive thing anyway - even if it just highlights that I'm grasping for an upside after a week of evictions :)

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 04/Dec/2015 20:03:11

    Thanks all - the census return that [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] highlights does line-up with the story that [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] references in the AncestryDotCom page. So, while we don't have confirmation that our image is definitively of the O'Donnell family, we'll close things positively that at least one of the families in the new report were able to return to the home within a few years! Have a great weekend all... (Note, even though not confirmed, we've mapped the image to the Knockastolar townland in Gweedore for now.)

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    Melinda Young Stuart

    • 04/Dec/2015 23:01:30

    I guess "scraw" is peat? I see. Above you call them 'sods'. Thus, a 'sod house', like were built in midwest/plains America by early settlers.

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 05/Dec/2015 02:26:46

    A three-part Gweedore local history on YouTube - I found the background information very helpful - Part 1 - youtu.be/g3BiK8gTqw4 Part 2 - youtu.be/g4IYPAl90j0 Part 3 - youtu.be/oE3e_AEbHJ4

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    silverio10

    • 07/Dec/2015 20:02:56

    Buenas fotos antiguas .

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    luck52

    • 10/Dec/2015 13:17:40

    É triste vê uma foto desta me faz crê que as dificuldades são criadas pelo próprio humano, em paralelo a esta família deveria ter a fartura e opulência de algum lord de merda, é triste.*.

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    richard39a

    • 22/Dec/2015 08:42:56

    And meanwhile, in the houses of Commons and Lords the scum were shovelling food and swilling drink down their greedy gullets. Not changed much!!

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    luck52

    • 22/Dec/2015 23:03:21

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Realmente nada mudou aos tempos de hoje...