Ex-lord mayor’s photographic archive donated to Cork Archives

The vast photographic archive of a former Lord Mayor of Cork who founded the Barry’s Tea empire has been donated to his native city.

All pictures courtesy of Cork City & County Achives

The Cork City and County Archives said it was delighted yesterday to accept Anthony Barry’s collection of more than 5,000 original images of the city and county.

Mr Barry’s granddaughter, Ireland South MEP, Deirdre Clune, said it was a family decision to donate the archive.

“He had a keen interest in photography. His photos, taken during the 1960s and 1970s, tell the story of the city during that time — with pictures of shopfronts, ships unloading on the city quays, as well as candid photographs of people chatting outside shops,” she said.

Shopping and chatting in the city centre.

“He developed the photographs himself in a darkroom in a bathroom and kept them in albums.

“Some were published in the book, No Lovelier City, about 20 years ago, and they were in safe-keeping with my aunt, Terry Kelly, a former Mayor of Limerick, who died about two years ago.

“They are of sentimental value, but we as a family appreciate the value of them in terms of a record, and we wanted to share them, and felt the archives was the best place for them.”

Winthrop Street before it was pedestrianised.

Born in 1901, Mr Barry owned small grocery stores on Bridge St and Prince’s St in Cork City that went on to specialise in teas.

His son and Ms Clune’s father, former tánaiste Peter Barry, took over the business which expanded to become one of Ireland’s best-known brands, Barry’s Tea.

Anthony Barry was elected a TD for Cork Borough in 1954 and 1961 and served as Lord Mayor of Cork from 1961 to 1962, around the same time he took up photography. He died in 1983.

Repairing a boat on the quayside.

The collection, which comprises both black and white and colour photographs, would be significant alone given that it illustrates a city through the lens of a former mayor, a spokesman for the archives said.

“But what is most striking is Barry’s sense of clarity, purpose, and a keen eye for the subject matter — his city and his people,” he said.

The prints are being digitised and repackaged to international standard, and several hundred are on the archive’s online catalogue at www.corkarchives.ie.

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