Monday 23rd July 2012
Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), today opened an exhibition of photographs by renowned photographer Father Frank Browne SJ, at Emo Court in County Laois.
Speaking at the launch Minister Hayes said: "I am very pleased to be here today in this marvellous setting, to launch this important exhibition of photographs by a former inhabitant of this building, Father Frank Browne SJ. Father Browne lived here from 1929 until 1957, during which time the building was used as a Jesuit novitiate. While based at Emo Court Father Browne travelled all over Ireland and Britain giving parish missions, and during this time he took more than 42,000 photographs. Father Browne worked for many civic bodies including the Forestry Commission at Emo, the National Museum of Ireland, the British Museum and the Church of England Governing Body. Father Browne developed nearly all of the photographs he took in his own room, then known as the Bachelors’ Quarters, now the Emo Tearooms."
The Minister continued: "Father Browne is probably best remembered for his iconic images taken while he was onboard the ill-fated Titanic liner in 1912, some of which form part of this exhibition. Father Browne travelled from Southampton to Cherbourg and Cherbourg to Cork on board the ship and, indeed, may have had a lucky escape when he was refused permission to stay onboard and travel on to New York when his superior in the Jesuit order sent him a terse Marconi-gram simply stating "Get off that ship – Provincial". But it is not just for his images of the Titanic that Father Browne is remembered. His photographic images represent a unique record of social history in Ireland, particularly from the beginning of the 20th century, and his chronicling of ordinary people going about their everyday lives has left a lasting legacy."
The Minister concluded: "In this, the centenary year of the Titanic disaster, it is very appropriate that this exhibition should come here to Emo Court and further enhance the importance of this wonderful historic property. I have no doubt that it will be of considerable interest to visitors from far and wide and I urge as many people as possible to attend and enjoy this wonderful exhibition."