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Some history about us

Cobh Pastimes moved to its present location in Pearse Square in May, 2017.

Photograph outside of the studio

Cobh Pastimes is an Old Time Photography Studio. Walk in, no appointment is necessary and pick out one of the historical themes on offer in this historically located studio. Fun for all the family. Enjoy the experience of dressing up and being photographed as in the olden times.

We have a number of sets that you can have fun dressing up and being "shot on"... →

Wild West Saloon Bar

Edwardian Living Room

Ship's Deck

Pirate's Galleon

We will dress you up in old time costumes, prepare and pose you on one of our themed sets and create a unique photo portrait produced in minutes. Most of our costumes are "backless" which means they go neatly and quickly over your day clothes, no changing required.

Our Crew

Fionnghuala proprietor

I was on a holiday trip in the Wild West of America about 9 years ago. We stopped at this little town called Jackson Hole, in Wyoming. They did mock gunfights at the corral and the whole centre was a selection of shops with a boardwalk. I then, walked into my very first old time photography studio here and suddenly, it was like a light bulb went on over my head - this is what I want to do for the rest of my life!

I have always loved theatre and cinema and have been a passionate photographer for nearly 40 years.

I founded and was Chairperson of Cobh Camera Club for 5 years, and in my young prime was a member of the Haulbowline Theatre Group. What a concoction of interests, so when I walked into this old time photography studio and saw all these things happening in one area - it sent a jolt of utter delight right through me.

Of course, giving up the secure day job, and finally deciding to venture out on my own, was initially a daunting experience and in reality it took 6 years for me to decide to make that move! I eventually realised that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't try. I approached South East Cork Enterprise Board and I am so thankful I did. They gave me so much support in getting set up and sent me on a Start Your Own Business Course which I found invaluable.

I also made contact with the Antique & Amusement Photographer's International (AAPI) who put me in touch with a specialist in setting up old time photography studios and then I travelled to Texas for the initial start up and training.

Anne-Marie has been with Cobh Pastimes since the very initial start up of the business. The two of us have grown with the business together and our journey has been one of fun, experimentation, creativity and enjoyment.

History of 14, Pearse Square

I have been able to find records for this building dating back to 1826 which makes it 192 years old! It would have been one of the many boarding houses for when emigration was at its height
It has been home to many types of business' over the years. During the time of the Lusitania sinking tragedy it was a public house named and ran by the BransField family for over 30 years.
The photographs below show survivors of the Lusitania sinking outside BransFields' pub (now Cobh Pastimes studio) in May 1915.

In recent years it has been a souvenir and tea shop, auctioners and a barber shop.

Circa 1895
Circa 1948

I recently put stairs into the derelict basement in the building and cleared all the rubble and rubbish out. Amongst all this was a log book dating from 1947. It contains entries of names and address from all over Ireland of people who stayed in the building and what ship they were departing on from Cobh. I am presently digitising this logbook.

Proud member of AAPI

Cobh Pastimes is a proud member of AAPI (Antique & Amusement Photographers International). The studio is the only one of its kind in the whole of Ireland. Old time photographers are all over the world and can be found in many towns and cities. Some will also go to your area or event with their mobile unit. The industry provides quality costumes of days gone by for customers to wear and have a professional photo taken. Most old time photos are sepia (brown tone), but many studios also offer antique colour or black & white. A.A.P.I. (Antique and Amusement Photographers International) is a not-for-profit organization. Their annual convention is normally held in the U.S.A.

In 1990, a group of old time photographers met and decided to form AAPI to help each other become more successful in this fun industry. Their idea was a good one. Some people thought old time photography was a fad that would quickly pass, but the many families that have annual old time photos taken over the generations or on vacations won’t let that happen. The industry has changed tremendously since AAPI’s inception, especially with the introduction of digital photography.

For your nearest old time photography studio go to Studio Locator Menu on the AAPI website.