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Macnamara Photographic Collection


The Macnamara Photographic Collection is a collection of glass plate negatives dating from the 1890s to the early 1920s, which were amassed in a collection by Dr. George Unthank Macnamara (1849-1919) was accessioned by Clare County Archives in 2010.

Thanks to the project being jointly funded by the Heritage Council and Clare County Council, these plates were conserved by a professional photographic conservator and subsequently digitised to ensure the permanent preservation of the collection. These images can now be viewed on Clare County Library website.

George Unthank was the son of Dr. Michael Macnamara and his wife Elizabeth Macnamara (nee Unthank) of Baunkyle, Corofin. Dr. George Unthank Macnamara, as his father before him, served as a medical doctor in the Corofin district. George Unthank was also known to have worked closely with his friend Thomas Johnson Westropp, a highly regarded antiquary who wrote extensively on the history of a number of counties in Ireland, including Clare, during the nineteenth century.

George himself became a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in 1894 and was elected Fellow and Vice-President of the Royal Society of Antiquities in 1917. In 1894, George is renowned to have had the previously disappeared Tau Cross recovered and reinstated into its original socket, at his own personal expense.

George Unthank practised photography with his friend TJ Westropp and thus assembled a large collection of glass plate negatives, which, by kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. George Macnamara, Baunkyle House and the Macnamara family, were digitised in a preservation project by Clare County Archives.

The collection contains a wide variation of images containing social, archaeological and historical witness to the late 19th and early 20th century Clare but indeed also to Burma where George’s brothers Lieutenant Colonel John William Unthank and Lieutenant Robert Joseph served in the Indian and Bengal Medical Services from the years 1879-1908.

Family portraits including the Macnamara family and other local families form part of the collection as well as important sites and monuments throughout County Clare.

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Macnamara Photographic Collection