Imagine Dublin roads crowded by cyclists, colourful minis and scooters. Imagine a squeaky-clean O’Connell Street and the jolly café that invented the famous knickerbocker glory. Imagine a Georges Street Arcade that was akin to a farmers’ market with horses pulling carriages filled with goods right outside.
These scenes sound unbelievable to the contemporary Dublin inhabitant, however, thanks to the University of Indiana these glimpses of 1960s Dublin can be seen at the Little Museum of Dublin right opposite St Stephen’s Green.
The newly installed exhibition hosts an array of photographs taken by American Charles Cushman on his visit to Ireland in 1961. While there are many images of Dublin streets in the 1960s taken by Irish photographers, Cushman’s collection are particularly interesting as they are the first ever colour photos taken of the Irish capital.
Aesthetically, the exhibition runs a little short and in comparison to the rest of this charming museum, the room which hosts the exhibition is lacking character, as well as central heating. The images on display are pleasing to view and have each gained a very instagram-like tint over the years, however, largely the images portray little artistic talent. Rather, the photographs act as illuminating documents, a portal into Dublin of the 1960s, which in itself is utterly fascinating.
While the room may be a bit chilly, the friendliness of the employees of the Little Museum of Dublin warms the cockles. Each photograph is accompanied by a contemporary image of the same area, which allow for in situ games of ‘spot the difference’ between then and now.
Similarly, many of the photos are also accompanied by snippets of historic information of the pictured area in the 1960s, anecdotes about Irish life fifty years ago and amusing trivia which is in keeping with the museum’s very casual yet intellectual attitude to all of their collections.
The Little Museum of Dublin, named as “Dublin’s best museum experience” by The Irish Times, is not a national museum and so there is a small entrance fee of €4.50 for students, so while you’re there you may as well check out the rest of the museum too. The museum’s main collections are housed in a wonderfully homely atmosphere and exhibit a vast array of objects and images exploring the history of Dublin City and its inhabitants in the 20th century.
The Little Museum of Dublin, Cushman Collection, Admission – Adults: €7, Students: €4.50