1920s Postcard from Millstreet

An unposted c1920 postcard of Clara mountain and the valley below entitled “Mount Clara and Valley, Millstreet, Co.Cork”, which is currently on sale on eBay. (Click on the photo for a bigger clearer photo).

Anyone have an idea from where it was taken, and what house is in the right foreground?



Some of the doctors that have been in Westbourne

    • 1907 1914 1919 Richard Radley Leader
    • 1939 1945 1951 1955 : Dr Mary Esther O’Connell (née O’Shea) – CO. CORK DOCTOR APPOINTED The Commissioner acting for Leitrim Board of Health has, on the recommendation of the Appointments Commissioners , appointed Dr. Mary Esther O’Connell (nee O’Shea, of Killinadrush), Westbourne , Millstreet, Cork.[ref]. (Dr. O’Connell’s husband Jeremiah John who had relations in the Derrinagree direction, was also a doctor here when they married in UCC Chapel in 1922. He had suffered a stroke in the late 40’s)
    • 1945: Dr. ME O’Connell [1945]
    • 1959: John Cribbin (Registrar here from 1951 to after 1969). He was an ex army doctor. Registered first in 1927, and did further studies in the UK.
    • Michael Feeley

Though not a doctor, Jim Lucey Station Road became known as Jim the Doctor, as he was the driver for the doctor of that time.!

Other Doctors Locally

  • Dr. O’Connor was here some time during the 1940’s  (He was an uncle to Tadhg O’Driscoll. His sister was Jerry O’Driscoll’s wife, a teacher in Rathcoole NS. He was a chain smoker!)
  • Dr. Pat Casey set up initially in the Wallis Arms in 1965, before moving to the bottom of Tullig.
  • Dr. Steven Dillon had a practice at the West End from the early 70’s, setting up initially at the West End (near Christy’s Restaurant), before moving the practice to near the Community School entrance.


TODO : finish the list of doctors


This is the original photo from the Lawrence Collection (about 1909), the full size version can be see at the National Library of Ireland website here


So where was it taken from? In short, the back of the old boys school on Clara Road, across from the Presbytery, which are now dwelling houses.

Plotting a line from the forestry on the north side of Clara to the side of Westbourne House (as in the photo), leaves you at the back of the old boys school.  (see the plot lines below)

It was also taken from an elevated position (at first we though it was from an upstairs window, but the school only got an upstairs after it was sold as a school, and a second floor built during its conversion into dwelling houses.

Looking below at the OSI map from about 1900, this is where it would have been taken from. The low walls in the foreground of the original photo match the walls in the map below.Below is the old Boys National School on the Clara Road. The the photo of Clara was most likely taken from behind this building. This photo is also part of the Lawrence collection.



11 thoughts on “1920s Postcard from Millstreet”

  1. I assume it was taken somewhere around Clara Road…. I’m pretty sure that house belongs to the Feeley family.

  2. thanks Caroline. I initially thought it was taken somewhere down by the station, but I think you’re bang on as having looked at the satellite photo of Millstreet
    * the Finnow is seen in the left foreground,
    * the angle of the house is right for Feeley’s
    * and the old workhouses (now the hospital) are just about visible in the middle right behind the row of trees (I never realised there were so many buildings there in the old days).
    * the alignment of the fields is pretty much the same as today

    Again from the satellite photos, I think that it’s taken from the back of one of the old houses that are across from the Presbtry on the Clara Road.

  3. Caroline and Aisling are indeed correct. This is one of the fifty-five William Lawrence prints taken in the Millstreet area between 1880 and 1914. We included many of these very fine prints when we published “Picture Millstreet” in 1997 (now out of print and a collector’s item). That fascinating collection of photographs could be divided into three separate categories – Millstreet Town, Drishane Estate and the Great Houses. This is one of the Great Houses called “Westbourne” and is now the Feeley Family residence at Clara Road, Millstreet. The previous residents were Dr. Cribbin, his Wife and Family. The picture appears to have been taken from an elevated field across the road and just above where the River Finnow flows. The building in the distance is the Workhouse. No Cross appeared on Clara Mountain until 1950. Well done, Michael, for locating this excellent print on ebay….It would be interesting to discover if the person who has placed it there has any Millstreet connections.

  4. Prior to this the house was occupied by Dr JJ OConnell,his wife Essie and their children John Patrick, Ursula and Marie. His driver was the late Jim Lucey of The Lodge,Station Road. Dr OConnells relatives still reside in Lisaniska,Cullen.

  5. One thing that nobody has commented on and what I find interesting here is the lack of trees in the photo compared to what exists presently. Energy was of course in short supply at the time, so firewood was used wherever the chance arose.
    I’m sure that this photo is impossible now because of large trees in the foreground.

  6. Sean has such a wealth of information! Picture Millstreet is a wonderful book!! Still love flicking through the pages every now and again…

  7. I googled westbourne house for the pig iron. My grandfather was john cribbin and I lived in the house for a few years when I was very young. Nice to see the old picture. John and his wife Anne died a good few years ago but his children, Shiela and Dermot still going strong and living in Leitriim.

    1. Paul…Thanks a million for the updated information regarding the Cribbin Family. Many of us have happy memories of the Family in Millstreet. The 1910 image of Westbourne House with Clara Mountain in the distance is on display on our illuminated Wall of History in Millstreet Museum.

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