Around 1900 Richard and Florence Wandesforde, owners of the Castlecomer Colliery Ireland’s largest coalfield, embarked on road trip through Europe. Richard was a keen photographer and chronicled their travels, taking pictures of what was often strange or unusual sights.

I came across these pictures while researching my podcast series on the Castlecomer Collieries. The pictures are reproduced with the permission of

You can listen to the first three podcasts episodes of ‘Secret Societies, Communism and Coal, Life in the Castlecomer Colliery here.

1. Cars were still something of a rarity in the early 20th century. This picture was taken at the French port of Boulogne. IMG_2438

2. A ‘Bullock cart’ in the Jura Mountains.


3. A dancing bear in the Jura Mountains. Dancing bears were a form of brutal entertainment. The bears had their teeth and claws removed.


4.Florence Wandesforde in the Jura Mountains. The Wandesfordes did not drive the car but instead brought a driver with them. He can be seen to the left of the car here.


5. Florence in the town of Clarens, Switzerland.

IMG_24316. A Dog Cart (Switzerland)

IMG_24327. Florence Wandesforde on the road from Aigle to Spicy


8.Brünig Pass

IMG_24349. Lake Lucerne in the background on the Lucerne to Brunner road.

IMG_243610. Car on board ship at Boulogne


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