Trí Lionsa Sualannach / Through a Swedish Lens: Images of Irish Life at the Beginning of the 19th Century

Monday, 26 March 2012

Children at Garmna, Co. Galway photgraphed by Ake Campbell, 1935. This photograph was taken by Campbell when he visited the home of Colm Ó Nia (whose children are photographed here) with Caoímhín Ó Danachair in Garmna, Conamara.

The James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway is hosting a photographic exhibition entitled Through a Swedish Lens celebrating the contribution made by four Swedish folklorists, who were also competent photographers, to Irish culture in the first half of the twentieth century. The twenty photographs taken by Äke Campbell, Albert Eskeröd, Carl von Sydow and Harriet Wetterström portray Irish people at work and play and illustrate beautifully the interiors and exteriors of Irish houses at that time.

This exhibition mirrors the folklore being collected in Ireland in the 19th Century by Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann (Irish Folklore Commission) and which continues to the present day. This collection, now kept at the Archives Department of UCD, is available for viewing in microfilm format in the James Hardiman Library.

The personal library of Séamus Ó Duilearga, Director of the Irish Folklore Commission 1935-71, containing over 4,000 volumes on folklore, folklife and celtic studies material is held as part of the Special Collections material in the James Hardiman Library. Professor Ó Duilearga undertook a study trip to the Scandanavian countries in the late 1920s where he made contact with some of the scholars whose work is represented in this exhibition. This personal library includes a significant collection of offprints received by him from academic colleagues throughout the world.

The current exhibition also links with photographic material in other collections held in the James Hardiman Library such as the Balfour Album which is now available online at,  the Ritchie Pickow collection, also available online at and the Heinrich Becker Collection.

The photographs in this exhibition are on loan from the National Folklore Collection, UCD. The exhibition is located in the foyer of the James Hardiman Library and continues until Friday, 27 April 2012. The opening hours are available at



Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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