The Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstakes. Incredibly exciting in a decade where the only alternative entertainments were morning mass, the Economic War, the Eucharistic Congress, politicians’ funerals and Easter 1916 Commemorative Parades. And the cinema of course, where you could see lots of glowing tanned pearly-toothed people like the couple above… but only in black and white. In the grey grey world of Ireland before Kodachrome, illustrations like this one by Sean Keating, designed for the 1935 Sweep, must have been enthralling and prized.
But if you think the jockey looks a bit gamey and the nurse looks more like a harlot than an Angel of Mercy, you’re probably closer to the truth than you realise. Alas, like so many institutions of the Irish Free State dressed up in the white starched flannel of respectability, the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstakes were a bit of a racket – read more about them in this excellent post here.
More photographs from the National Library of Ireland of the amazing-for-such-a-grim-era emperor’s-new-clothes pageantry associated with the 1930s Sweepstakes (complete with tin Elephants and Lovely Girls) below.