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Aran Island life – The Ritchie-Pickow Collection

Aran Island life

The Ritchie-Pickow Collection, initially acquired by the University of Galway in 1996 under the guidance of Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Emeritus Professor of History at the University, provides a unique window into the work of Jean Ritchie and George Pickow during their visit to Ireland between 1952 and 1953. Comprising over eighteen-hundred photographs and sound recordings, the collection captures notable figures such as Seamus Ennis and sean-nós singer Elizabeth Cronin, and includes photographs taken all over Ireland.

Jean Ritchie, recognised as the ‘Mother of Folk’ for her preservation and promotion of traditional folk music and her contribution to folk revival movement in American music, was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship in 1952 to explore and collect music in Britain and Ireland. Accompanied by her husband, photographer George Pickow, they dedicated eighteen months to documenting folk songs, traditional musicians, and Irish life.

This exhibition looks at their time on Inishmore in 1952. The images capture life on the Aran Islands, from the intricate process of thatching cottages and traditional fishing techniques to lively moments of set dancing and communal storytelling. Occasionally curated for effect, the images portray the islanders’ activities, landscapes, and traditional crafts.  

Photographic Exhibition​

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