Mountain Stage, Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry

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Where: Kerry, Ireland

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When: Unknown

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One of those amazing Lawrence images of poverty, destitution and sheer misery that makes one cringe. Cringe for the people who had to live in such terrible conditions. Some of the worst we had seen were in Donegal but this is in the Kingdom of Kerry, and shows that hard times affected people all over the country.

With input from today's contributors we have broadly mapped this image to near Drom in County Kerry. The consensus is that this French image was likely captured in the 1880s. Possibly even c.1887 when, as beachcomber points-out, there were some particularly notorious evictions of families from the Wynn Estate....


Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: Catalogue range c.1860 - 1914. Though certainly before 1900. And likely c.1880s.

NLI Ref: L_CAB_08441

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

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 35744
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio glassnegative nationallibraryofireland cabin stone sods earth squalor congestion poverty turf basket cuttingtools shovel thatch countykerry glenbeigh mountainstage scarf turfspade explore lawrencephotographcollection

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    O Mac

    • 14/Sep/2016 08:58:38

    Mountain Stage was also the name of a station on the Farranfore to Valentia railway so I'd assume we're somewhere near there. The photo looks very staged. maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V2,462748,589090,11,9

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    derangedlemur

    • 14/Sep/2016 09:01:18

    Well, there's a plausible collection of scruffy hovels here, just north of where Glenbeigh station was: www.google.ie/maps/@52.0602417,-9.942601,3a,75y,23.47h,61... maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V2,466829,591597,11,9

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    derangedlemur

    • 14/Sep/2016 09:08:34

    There's plenty of similar wreckage round Mountain Stage station as well, of course. You can't get streetview into it, though.

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    Peter Denton

    • 14/Sep/2016 09:10:36

    Not even a solitary window...

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 14/Sep/2016 09:40:39

    The "Similar items" in the NLI catalogue imply that Mr French visited after the railway line and station were opened in 1893. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farranfore_to_Valencia_Harbour_Railway ) I strained my eyes trying to find this hovel via megazoom™ on Mr French's views of the area, with no luck - see catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000318921 & catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000318911 Psst! @ [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/] This one of a wonderful bridge "In Hillsborough Demesne" has crept into the wrong place ! - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000332016

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 14/Sep/2016 10:46:33

    Almost makes you want to cry, to see such poverty.

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    j.coffey78

    • 14/Sep/2016 11:36:20

    I wonder is that a timber frame for an old bed ? They seem to have been bringing in the turf, first man sitting has a small sleán, and the baskets used to carry the turf, was the "house" on the left used to store the turf ?

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    guliolopez

    • 14/Sep/2016 13:07:09

    It seems unlikely to me that this is the 1860s. Or even 1870s. This is possibly around the time of the Land Wars in the 1880s. As per the similar Lawrence/French shots from Gweedore or Moyasta (below). This also may very well be a permanent family home. And if it is, it would represent pretty dramatic poverty. Given the turf cutting equipment however, it might also be more temporary accommodation occupied during the turf cutting "season" (often Mar/Apr/May). If it is, then one imagines that any more permanent home (further down the mountain, away from the turf bog and closer to the sea and its fish), wasn't much more salubrious. Nobody here has a bumper sticker that says "my other home is Muckross House"... www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/23485522776/ www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/23357864414/

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    Niall McAuley

    • 14/Sep/2016 14:56:27

    The area is presumably called Mountain Stage because of the Stage house up the road from the station, so the name is clearly a lot older than the railway.

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    guliolopez

    • 14/Sep/2016 16:38:53

    Sorry https://www.flickr.com/photos/hoglet - Maybe I'm missing it. As with other images in the Lawrence collection, doesn't it say "between ca. 1865-1914"? It would be very unusual for a Lawrence collection image to have an exact year listed. But maybe I'm missing it. (If you are talking about the "date created" metadata on the right hand search panel, then I would note that this date is simply the earlier date in the catalogue range. It doesn't mean that the photo was taken in exactly 1865. Just that this is the lower of the dates in the catalogue range).

    Main Creator:French, Robert, 1841-1917 photographer Contributors:Lawrence, William (William Mervyn) , 1840-1932 In Collection:The Lawrence Photograph Collection Format:Photo Published / Created:between ca. 1865-1914. Subjects: Mountains > Ireland > Kerry > 1860-1920 Kerry (Ireland) > Photographs Glass negatives > Ireland > 1860-1920.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 14/Sep/2016 21:06:53

    The NLI catalogue has a series of photos by Francis Guy of the Glenbeigh evictions which happened in January 1887 (via Trove). These photos show similar "cabins" with family names etc, but not the posed look of this one. Mr French would surely have taken several photos of the misery if he was there in 1887 ?? catalogue.nli.ie/Search/Results?lookfor=glenbeigh+evictio... Contemporary newspaper reports via Trove are not happy reading - eg trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/170599144 - which vividly describes evictions of families named Quirke* in the Coomasaharn area - a few kms south of Mountain Stage and GoogleStreetViewable - it is stunningly beautiful. * - Ref also - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000187854 Edit: site of Quirke cottages on streetview - goo.gl/maps/hFfVWA2EFNo More newspaper reports - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?q=glenbeigh

  • profile

    guliolopez

    • 14/Sep/2016 22:36:53

    Thanks [https://www.flickr.com/photos/hoglet] for your note. I'm not really sure where to start with your note, but I might recommend having a look at the history of the Lawrence Collection, and the main photographer who contributed to that collection, Robert French. Robert French was almost certainly not a naive young photographer when he captured this scene. He worked for the Lawrence company from the 1880s (at which time he was a seasoned commercial photographer in his late 30s/early 40s). He worked for the studio until his 70s, retiring in 1914. As you point out, 1865 to 1914 is therefore the entire range for the entire Lawrence Collection. The NLI catalogue doesn't list specific dates for all catalogue entries in that collection. What you are seeing therefore on the right hand-side of that page is a limitation in which the web UI of the NLI catalogue shows only the lower end of the range. In that web-part. In other web-parts it shows the full range. This is simply therefore a technical limitation of that "see also" section/lightbox. And not indicative of a specific date for those images. In fact, if you click on the MARC tab, you will note that the NLI's MARC data for that image specifically lists the full range from 1865 (when Lawrence was building up his business) to 1914 (when he and French were at retirement age). Largely what happens in this stream is that the various contributors will try and pinpoint location, subject and date. And there's some of us who - for our sins - have looked at enough Lawrence/French images that a date and geography will seem evident from 100 paces. And others (not myself) who - sometimes seemingly sauvant like - will pick out a location with scary levels of accuracy and speed, often based on little more than the slope of a hill or a funny shaped rock. Anyway, as per the various comments above, there's a growing consensus that this one is in the late 1880s. When eviction events in and around Munster (including Kerry) drew photographers like French to document the goings-on. And to then commercially sell their photos to newspapers and the like...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 15/Sep/2016 00:16:18

    Thanks all! Have updated the description, date, map and tags to try and capture some of today's discussion. https://www.flickr.com/photos/hoglet - Thanks for helping highlight a possible improvement we might make to the NLI catalogue site. As https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] points-out though, the date we see in the "summary" section on the right is just the first (often earliest) date in the MARC data. And not necessarily in itself a concrete date. The broader ranges for Lawrence collection items is why the discussions on those images will sometimes focus on dates. Will pass on the feedback to the web-team however! https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] - Thanks for helping with the intros for Peter. While some of us might be longer-in-the-tooth. we shouldn't forget however that we all contributed for the first-time once ourselves :)

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    guliolopez

    • 15/Sep/2016 00:24:35

    Thanks "Evening Mary". I did count to ten - I swear :) And really do try not to bite the newcomers :) As you say though, there are some here "longer in the tooth". So long in the tooth in fact, that it's a little harder not to say something when someone stands in the middle of the old-folks home and lectures on sucking eggs :) (I nearly spat my dentures in fact when the good doctor was lectured on the longer exposures of 19th century photography :) ) Anyway, I'll count to 20 next time :) In the meantime, here's a turf spade in use. As seen in the hands of the man closest to the doorway: www.flickr.com/photos/carolblondon/3601091835/

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    domenico milella

    • 15/Sep/2016 08:09:18

    Congratulation for your beautiful Album.

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    waewduan4

    • 15/Sep/2016 08:32:26

    Congrats !!

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    le cabri

    • 15/Sep/2016 12:13:56

    Marvelous job

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    rich lewis

    • 15/Sep/2016 12:21:49

    splendid

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    davi85travel

    • 15/Sep/2016 13:25:28

    What a wonderful picture, greeting from Sardinia Join in my Flickr Group: uTravelShare - Finest & Curated Pics www.flickr.com/groups/utravelshare/ Follow me around the world on www.uTravelShare.com

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    eatable star

    • 15/Sep/2016 13:44:57

    Fantastic capture, really gives an insight to the misery lots of Irish families had to go through.

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    Peter Dewhurst

    • 15/Sep/2016 14:55:10

    Guiliolopez - thanks for the clarification. Have PM'd you and am now following your page. I have been a photographer for over 40 years and only offered an opinion based on the poses of the people in the photograph ( which I do consider to be rather naive). One can only go by the information provided and as you and your colleagues have acknowledged, that can at times lead to misinterpretation. It was not until recently that I discovered my own Irish ancestry. My GGG grandparents lived in Charleville, C Cork and left Ireland during the famine - strangely I owe my existence to that tragedy. As a photographer I am naturally intrigued to discover images from Ireland that reflect the period in which my ancestors lived. I hope your denture fixative is up to any further interjections from myself. Peter

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    Andy Gant ...

    • 15/Sep/2016 15:56:15

    Great image, seen in "B&W Images from around the World" www.flickr.com/groups/picsinbw/

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    guliolopez

    • 16/Sep/2016 08:46:38

    Thanks https://www.flickr.com/photos/hoglet - well put. I probably do need better denture adhesive :)

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    Peter Dewhurst

    • 16/Sep/2016 10:17:38

    Guiliolopez - 😇

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    Old Family Images

    • 18/Dec/2016 23:07:26

    A wonderful image, sad days for the family.

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    Myrtle26

    • 12/Apr/2017 10:05:25

    In response to Niall McAuley. Yes, the name is from before the coming of the railway and refers to the last stop of a horse drawn coach before the Hill of Drung. Passengers would have to walk or go on horseback from there to South Kerry. The road wasn't built until 1822 and it was the remoteness here, where the high mountain sweeps into Dingle Bay, rather than in the entire county which gave the name The Kingdom to the county as a whole. Daniel O'Connell's uncle, Hunting Cap, sent out his aide to meet his wife's sister near Glenbeigh and escort her back to Derrynane. When she had to get out of the coach she exclaimed 'Is this the Hill of Drung?' to which the aide tipped his cap and answered 'Yes, Mam. But if my master knew you were coming sooner he would have leveled it before you.' (Anecdote from The Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade by Mrs Morgan John O'Connell. Incidentally, in Valerie Barrie's Houses of Kerry she laments the fact that nobody knows the exact location of the stage house.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 12/Apr/2017 16:40:47

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/mosskayree] Interesting. There is a stage house marked on the 1830s 6" OS map (and the later 25"), but perhaps that is not the original. It would have been here in Streetview where Mountain View B&B is now.