Fields of dreams
2 MIN READ
Collecting turf from the bog
An eight-acre site in Cabinteely village where the Bank of Ireland Operations Centre now sits used to be a field of dreams. This was the site of a small factory exporting visions of Ireland on postcards sent all across the world.
The cards were the creation of one man, an Englishman, John Hinde.
In Hinde’s highly-coloured postcards, donkeys stood forever patient outside cottages groaning with thatch, fisherman mended nets on the shores of the Aran isles beside currachs, and milk was always delivered in churns from the creamery by cart.
Irish hair never looked so red, sheep so white and fluffy and jumpers (there were often jumpers) so sunburst yellow, so scalding pink.
This was an Ireland where the grass was always greener and there was no rain, only endless, often suspiciously Mediterranean, sunlight.
No local could ever mistake the postcards for everyday reality of life in rural Ireland but John Hinde wasn’t producing documentary images, for him this was art.
Fisherman on the Aran Islands
The world loved the 4 x 6 inch views of Ireland that Hinde produced.
Millions of John Hinde postcards, created in Cabinteely, were bought across the globe.
The collection of photos used on the postcards was produced by six photographers, including Hinde himself, over 15 colourful years at the Hinde factory in Cabinteely, between 1957 and 1972.
The first was a series celebrating the opening of Shannon Airport.
The bestseller? The one of that Aran island fisherman mending his nets on the beach for all eternity.
Delivering Milk to the Creamery
The photos were meant to look like snapshots taken on the spur of the moment but, in reality, they anything but spontaneous.
Hinde always carefully posed his subjects, often taking hours to arrange them and returning many times to the same scene.
Any signs of contemporary life such as TV aerials or telegraph poles were carefully removed while flowers were sometimes added to the foreground.
Thatched Cottage, Connemara
The trademark splashes of colour were added later in the process.
Hinde himself often wrote notes like ‘make sky blue with white clouds’ and ‘make car red’.
The result was an almost evangelical vision of Ireland far removed from the reality of the more monochrome 1950s and unlike anything produced before or since.
Postcards from the edge
John Hinde retired in 1972 and died in France in 1997, aged 81.
The John Hinde Group still sells postcards but the Cabinteely ‘dream factory’ that originally created them closed in 2011 taking a little colour from the Irish landscape when it did so.
Find out more
See more postcards from the John Hinde Collection.
All images © John Hinde Archive.
All efforts were made to ensure that the information in this article was accurate at the time of original publication. The content of this article do not constitute financial advice.
Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.