A trip into the history of Mayo through the lens of Jack Leonard

The North Mayo-West Sligo Heritage Group will host a talk by A.G Leonard in the Ballina Family Resource Centre on Tuesday, April 30 at 8pm, on the photography work of his grandfather, Jack Leonard - entitled 'In My Grandfathers Time.'

Jack Leonard (1882-1960 ) was an award winning photographer who grew up in Mayo during turbulent times. Through his photography he was exposed to the lives of the wealthy and the poor.

He recorded the Big House, their way of life - be it transport, fishing, hunting etc. On the other side of the coin, he recorded evictions and the many Land War Meetings and used his skill to bring the message from the West of Ireland to a wider national and international audience.

Leonard's political photos start with the 1910 General Elections meetings, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Irish Volunteers, leading on to photos taken during the War of Independence and Civil War; including what is generally acknowledged as the best photo of an Active Service Unit – Kilroy’s Column, West Mayo Flying Column.

On the sporting front, he recorded everything from local sports to large events; from seven-a-side teams to the famous Ballina Stephenities, Croke Cup winners; Olympian and multiple Olympic medal winner Martin Sheridan; Regattas on Lough Conn and much more.

The evolution of transport through horse drawn carriages to the bicycle and motor car and cycle is well captured and his many pictures of horses in working, sport and leisure activities, highlight his great love and respect for the animal. The collection also reflects the importance placed on religious life, with many important occasions captured.

Leonard's family and individual photos show his effort to portray the people he lived among in the best possible way, people dressed up for the occasion; the pride of their surroundings stood out. A.G. Leonard will also have on display some of his grandfather's earliest cameras.

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