A young Richard Harris carouses with fellow actors in a pub overlooking the River Liffey. Dockworkers kill time while waiting to find out if they'll get jobs that day. Fleets of bicycling workers pedal to work. An old man sells rosary beads to supplement his pension.
These are among the black-and-white images of the Docklands in the Irish capital captured by American photographer Marvin Koner in 1963. The dozens of images Koner produced for a competition sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Co. are currently on display through March at the National Library of Ireland.
Titled "Dublin '63," the exhibition is on loan from the Irish American Heritage Museum. In 1990, Koner's widow, Silvia, donated the photos to the museum, which has offices in Albany and operates a museum in the Greene County hamlet of East Durham, 25 miles southwest of Albany.
"They're marvelous. Some of them are absolutely beautiful," said Collette O'Flaherty, an archivist at the Dublin library. "They're very much images of a disappearing Dublin."
It's the first time an Irish-American museum has presented an exhibit at the Irish library, said museum chairman Joseph Dolan.
The original Koner images are being exhibited alongside color photographs taken in 2003 of the same sections of Dublin to reflect the changes in the once-gritty areas along the River Liffey.
In the intervening decades, the horse-drawn coal carts Koner photographed have disappeared, replaced by cars, buses and commuter trains. Laundry-draped tenements have given way to new apartment buildings. Shiny commercial high-rises stand where derelict warehouses once lined the riverbank.
In the economically resurgent Dublin of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the grizzled dockhands in tweed coats and caps are history. Phalanxes of men in business suits and mothers pushing prams now dot the street scene, and women are allowed into the once male-only enclave of the pubs.
"It almost changed the entire society of Dublin," said Dolan, who visits Ireland several times a year.
The display of black-and-white photos literally has stopped library visitors in their tracks, O'Flaherty said in an interview from her office. Many have commented on the memorable faces of the street characters Koner encountered at the docks, in the pubs and on the streets, she said.
"You just don't see characters like that on the street, really, any more," she said. "The photographs very much capture a moment in time, and that particular moment in time has passed in terms of Dublin's Docklands."
Dolan, who retired as an assistant commissioner with the state Department of Corrections, said the reshaping of Dublin reminds him of the urban redevelopment that happened in the United States in the 1960s.
The photography show is the latest link the upstate museum has forged with its Irish cousins. The museum has exported exhibits on Irish-American presidents and labor leaders, and worked with its overseas counterparts for an exhibit at the East Durham museum on the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine.
The photos in the "Dublin '63" exhibit have also been displayed at Albany's public library and airport and at the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg.