The Girl in the Green Polka Dot Skirt – The Photographer

It’s an iconic photo of the 1973 IRA volunteer – a woman member of Cumann na mBan – with a rifle in Belfast it’s often been used but these items focus on the story of the photographer who took this and others at the time Colman Doyle. The archive of photographs Doyle took while working for the Irish Press (and his other works) are a rich repository of Irish life captured on camera from the 1950s onwards.

There’s an article here and also a TG4 documentary at IFI about Colman (I was pleased to see that Bob Quinn who made the documentary here forty years ago includes his comments about the value of Doyle’s work).

The documentary is well worth a watch as it sets out the context of the man and his work. Saddest part for me was the revelation that his photographs taken on the Baskets in 1950 (when the Islands still had a resident population) were all lost by the Irish Press (now closed). They were sacrificed for ‘more office space’.

Links:

https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0616/1147804-troubles-northern-ireland-colman-doyle-photo-woman-ira-belfast-1973/

https://ifiarchiveplayer.ie/colman-doyle-abhar-machnaimh/

Image:; Another shot of the girl in the polka dot skirt.

Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (18th June 2022)

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