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Father Francis Browne SJ - Old Photographs of this area

Father Francis Browne's Templeport Pictures

In 1985 Father Edward O'Donnell SJ was searching in the basement at the Irish Jesuit Provincial's House when he came across a large black metal trunk, in it he found a large collection of negative albums, photographs and most amazingly of all an album containing photographs of Titanic's first voyage from Southampton to Cove in April 1912.

All these photographs were the work of Father Francis Browne SJ who died in 1960 and was almost forgotten by this time. Subsequent investigations revealed he had enjoyed worldwide fame in 1912 when his photographs of the Titanic’s journey to Cobh were published worldwide. He had travelled first class to Cobh having been given a ticket by his uncle Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne. His remarkable pictures proved to be unique.

Fr Francis was born in Cork on 3rd January 1880 and died in Dublin on 7th July 1960. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

His first introduction to photography was in 1897. Just prior to joining the Jesuits he went on a Grand Tour of Europe. For this trip Uncle Robert gave him his first camera and the pictures made on that journey showed great promise.

For some years he had little opportunity to photograph but somehow his enthusiasm and artistic ability were still evident at the time of the Titanic’s journey. In 1915 he was ordained to join the Irish Guards as chaplain. He was the most decorated chaplain of WW1. In following years up to the 1950’s he created almost 42,000 negatives in which he documented the life of the emerging Republic of Ireland and fascinating aspects of Australia, England and elsewhere. In the words of one critic he was described as “a master photographer with an unerring eye”. David Davison was invited to assess the negatives from an artistic/photographic point of view and make recommendations on their conservation. The news was bad, over half the negatives were on a dangerous nitrate base and many had deteriorated badly.

Most of the text on this page and the photos of Fr Brown are taken from
Top left, Fr Francis Brown as a young man.
Lower right, Fr Brown with his camera.

The photos which are probably of most interest to us were taken in 1939 when Fr Brown was giving a mission in Kilnavart Church. They are indexed on the pages linked below. You may find many of the captions inaccurate. Some of the photos on those pages may not be of interest to Templeport users:

Belturbet and Ballyconnell Railway Stations; the Cavan and Leitrim Railway and Daragh Fort
St Patrick's Church Kilnavart; People coming from Mass; Lime kiln, Lisanover?
Holy Trinity Barn Church (inside and outside), the Parochial House, Kilnavart
Templeport Lake and St Mogue's Island with Michael McGovern and children
More photos on St Mogue's Island with Michael McGovern and one photo of Glengavelin (Clencevlin) Hotel

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