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24 fascinating photos of Christmas in Ireland from every decade of the twentieth century

… and into this one.

HERE’S HOW WE celebrated Christmas in Ireland in days gone by – with photos from every decade since 1890.

The 1890s

Christmas Day, 1894. Young girl and two boys sitting on the floor with their presents - includling tennis racquets, a train set, a doll, books, a cricket bat and sailing boats. Source: National Library of Ireland

The 1900s

Christmas tree decorated with lights, baubles and crackers. Taken around 1900 in Galway. Source: National Library of Ireland

The festive meat display at Roberts Butcher Shop, Waterford, December 1901 Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

A delivery of Christmas turkeys to Flynn & Young's on Conduit Lane, Waterford, 1907 Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The 1910s

A young girl dressed up as Father Christmas with outfit, mask, sack and staff. Christmas 1912 Source: National Library of Ireland

Photo of the poster for the Gaiety's Christmas panto in 1916, at the height of WW1. Featuring Humpty Dumpty, Mrs Pinch, King Musty Fusty and "The King's Cyclists". Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The 1920s

A seasonal shop display in 1926. Including Tom Smith's Christmas crackers; Jacob's biscuits; dates and Turkish delight; and Santa Claus plum puddings. Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

Delivering Christmas trees in December 1929. She's doing a great job driving for only a young thing. Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The 1930s

Pupils at a Wexford school, in costume for (presumably) a Nativity play in 1930. Special contributions from the girl who had to wear the witch costume, and the girl in the beard. Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The 1940s

Girls at the Sisters of Charity school in Waterford, having their Christmas party in 1949. Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The 1950s

A Christmas party at St Mary's Preventorium - an institution for children with tuberculosis - in 1952. How terrifying is the guy in the cat suit? Source: © Irish Photo Archive

The boat train crossing the pier in Dun Laoghaire, on December 25 1959. Public transport running on Christmas Day? Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The 1960s

Waiting for a bus under the Christmas lights on Grafton Street, 1961 Source: © Irish Photo Archive

The 1970s

Santa arrives at Crumlin Shopping Centre in 1976 - with a garda escort to protect him from the mob Source: © Irish Photo Archive

Shopping on Moore Street, Dublin in 1975 Source: © Irish Photo Archive

The 1980s

Selling turkeys in Dublin, Christmas 1984 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A turkey vendor and his solitary bird, Christmas 1984 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The Wren Boys in full flight on St Stephen's Day in Dingle, Co Kerry. This photo is undated but was taken sometime between 1980 and 1999. Source: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The 1990s

The window of the Porterhouse on Dublin's Parliament Street in 1998. Many Temple Bar pubs banned stag and hen parties that year. Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A young boy bringing home a turkey for Christmas, December 1998 Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Mary McAleese getting a smooch from Santa in 1999 Source: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

The 2000s

Christmas shopping on Henry Street, Dublin in 2003 Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Bored children at the Brown Thomas Christmas sales, 2000 Source: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

Waiting for the Christmas tree to be taken away on January 6, 2006 Source: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

Several photos courtesy of the Irish Photo Archive. The Irish Photo Archive sells fine art prints from its collection of 3.5million negatives spanning 60 years of Irish history, available here.

More: 3 heartwarming memories of Irish Christmas in decades gone by>

More: 11 of the most non-traditional Irish Christmas traditions>

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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