A new Father Frank Browne Photograph Exhibition was officially opened on July 23 at Emo Court, Co. Laois, by Brian Hayes TD, Minister with Responsiblity for the Office of Public Works.
Fr Browne’s album of photographs from the first stages of the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage (from Southampton to Cherbourg to Cobh) are world famous. As one of the Jesuits’ Missions and Retreats staff, he was resident in Emo Court from 1930, when the Irish Jesuits acquired the house as a novitiate, until 1957. During his years there, he took more than 5,000 photographs of life in St Mary’s (as Emo Court was known during the Jesuit occupancy from 1930 to 1969) and in the surrounding countryside. All in all Father Browne took more than 42,000 photographs. The negatives were found in 1985 by Fr Eddie O’Donnell SJ in the basement of the Irish Jesuit Provincial’s house. They were packed tight into a large black metal trunk, and with them was stored an album of prints, now known as Father Browne’s Titanic Album.
Emo Court is south of Portarlington, just a few kilometers off the Dublin-Limerick road (the M7). The grounds contain the estate house and 280 acres of woodland and parkland. Speaking on NewsTalk radio about the launch of the Father Browne exhibition, Minister Hayes said: “We hope that it will add to the attraction that is Emo Court and the wonderful surroundings of the house…It will be another attraction in what is a wonderful national park at Emo.”