Bill Doyle, Photographer R.I.P.

Thursday, Nov 25th, 2010 in Photography News by Alan Murphy | 21 Comments

Bill Doyle 1926 - 2010. Photographed by Leo Doyle

Mansion House, 1970 by Bill Doyle. (Image Courtesy of the Gallery of Photography)

Bill Doyle, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed photographers, has died aged 85.

Doyle, who originally worked as a postman, decided to become a photographer after winning a competition in 1967. Working as a freelancer his images were iconic and earned him a reputation as the “Irish Cartier-Bresson”. In recent years he was the subject of a retrospective at the Irish Gallery of Photography.

A dedicated photographer he used to joke that he would spend his last few shillings on TriX over food.

His work is currently on display at the IMMA as part of The Moderns exhibition.


Funeral Arrangements – Removal on Saturday to Mount Jerome Crematorium arriving for 1.30am service. No flowers, donations to One In Four. Source

Anglesea Street, 1978 by Bill Doyle (Image Courtesy of Gallery of Photography)


  1. Keith Nolan
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Bill Doyle was one of Ireland’s greats.
    His work will be seen and admired for
    generations to come and treasured even
    more as time goes by.

  2. Sean Doyle
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I am so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He was my first hero in photography way back in the late 60s. May he rest in peace.

  3. Donnchadha Quilty
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I met Bill about a year and a half ago. We took the same train from Galway to Dublin and we spoke for the entire journey, about all sorts of things. I didn’t know who he was then, but I felt lucky to have met him – he was so charming and friendly and he could tell a great story. I felt even more lucky to have met him when I searched for his name online later that day, only to discover that he was much more accomplished than he led me to believe! I love his photographs and I will fondly remember my encounter with him.

  4. Letitia Pollard
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Very sorry to hear about Bill. For many years he was a contributor to Bord Failte’s magazine Ireland of the Welcomes – his wonderful images of Dubliners and their bicycles are a cherished memory. On a visit to Inis Meain who did I meet coming along the beach but Bill, retracing his earlier days on that magical island. May he rest in peace. His twinkling, blue and so observant eyes will be remembered with a smile.

  5. Fiona o Crowley
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m so sorry to hear of Bill death he was a friend of my now deceased parents Muriel and Derry OCrowley
    He was a lovely man. I have his books on the Arran island – a very talented man
    May he rest in peace

  6. Colm O Dulachain
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I had the pleasure of traveling with Bill to all corners of Ireland in the 1970s when I worked with Slogadh, Gael Linns youth festival. Bill was our photographer, mentor, storyteller par excellence & wit.. Many long Sunday winter nights driving from north Donegal or south Cork to Dublin were enriched by Bills presence. The photos taken at that time are cherished reminders of a true gentleman. Deepest sympathy to his daughter Lesley, his brother & his many many friends.

  7. Gabriel Rosenstock
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann!

  8. Ciarán Ó Feinneadha
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Fear uasal a bhí i Bill, go raibh meas ag pobal na Gaeilge air go háirithe i mBaile Átha Cliath agus ar Árainn. Ní raibh mórán ócáidí Gaeilge ann sna 70aí agus 80aí nach raibh Bill i láthair acu agus é ag glacadh pictiúírí. Mar a luaigh Colm Ó Dúlacháin is ag Slógadh – a chéad chuireamar aithne air. Bhíodh sé ag obair ar Sheachtain na Gaeilge ina dhiaidh sin, agus go leor imeachtaí eile de chuid Chonradh na Gaeilge. Ghlac sé na pictiúirí amuigh anseo i mBaile Phámar an chéad lá gur oscail Gaelscoil Naomh Pádraig i 1989, pictiúirí go bhfuil áit speisíalta acu i gcroíthe phobal na scoile. Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé.

  9. pat gartland
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I was so sorry to hear of Bill’s death. He was my friend for the last eight years. Four days a week we met in Grogan’s for lunch were we had our own corner called Doyles corner..
    I will miss him…
    R.I.P Bill,

    Pat Gartland

    • Annick et Greg Lee
      Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      A tourist in Dublin in 2005 having a sandwich at Grogan’s on a Friday afternoon I was lucky to be invited to Doyle’s corner while Greg my husband was ordering 2 pints at the bar. You were there too Pat. Bill was so charming I will never forget that delicious moment. We always go back to Grogan’s when we stay in Dublin and in 2009 we had a pint with Bill and ended up going back to France with one of his prints from Grogan’s wall. We were very sad to read about Bill’s passing. He is one of my favorite people in my life even if I spent just a couple of hours with him.

  10. Gina Herold
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I may have met you, Pat, in January when I was visiting from NY. I walked into Grogan’s on my own, just looking for a place to rest after shooting all morning. I put my camera on the table in front of me, and was swiftly invited to Doyle’s Corner to meet Bill. I could have talked to him all day – so interesting and generous with his knowledge.

    I came back the next day with some of his books to sign, and he brought a stack of prints with him, explaining the circumstances and stories behind each one. I mentioned that I’d met Ben Kiely (who wrote the introduction to Images of Dublin) years before in the Shelbourne Bar. He produced a print of Ben in the Shelbourne, turned it over and inscribed it to me. I was floored at his generosity. I’ll always remember that day and feel very lucky to have met him.

    Condolences to his family and friends.

    RIP BIll

    Gina Herold

  11. Posted December 8, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Cúis bhróin dom a cloisint go bhfuil Bill Doyle imithe ar shlí na fírinne. Ghrianghrafadóir ar leith den scoth ab ea é! Bhí an Taispeántas a bhí aige san’ Gallery of Photography’ tamaill ghearr ó shin ar fheabhas ar fad,agus ar chómh -chéim le haon Taispeántas a thánaigh isteach sa tír ,nó níos fearr!
    Bhí áthas orm gur chas mé air go minic,agus bhí sé lán sásta a thuairimí agus a thaithí a roinnt liom am ar bith.
    Cailliúint i measc Ealáinteoirí is ea é. Maireann a chuimhne agus a Shaothar .

    Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam !

    Pádraig Ó Flannabhra.

  12. John Power
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    It was only today that with great sadness that I heard of Bill’s death. I have known him for over forty years. He was a wonderful person a great photographer and a fantastic storyteller.
    Regina and I had Bill take photographs of our wedding, anniversaries and daughter’s graduation and we always had difficulty in geting him to accept payment.. He will be sorely missed.
    Deepest sympathy to his daughter Lesley, his brother & his many many friends.
    Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam dhilis.

  13. I. Heron
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Bill ….”Islandman”. When they created you, they threw away the mould. Always remembered with respect and affection.

  14. Peadar Mac Fhlanncha
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Slán Bill, agus míle buíochas as na hamanna ar fad a chaith mé i do chomhluadar agus na scéalta (agus grianghraif) ar fad a roinn tú go fial. Tá sé deacair a thuiscint nach gcasfar ar a chéile sinn arís. Is boichte saol na tíre agus saol na Gaeilge gan thú, gan trácht ar an uaigneas a bheidh le mothú ar na hoileáin Árainn agus tú imithe uainn.

  15. Posted January 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for what you left behind when you went to smell the flowers. RIP. Your photographs are just wonderful. An example to all us amature photographers.

  16. Kevin Barrington
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Tragically I never got to buy a copy of the Hilton E and Michael Mac strolling through the Green…cos Bill was more interested in sitting chatting than dealing with commerce. Didn’t get the photo but got the pleasure of his company.

  17. michael martinez
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    today i stoped at a yard sale and found two bill doyle prints signed by bill it is the print DONEGAL,1976 ‘GOING TO THE BOG’ the other print singed by bill and also idisheer aran 1965
    ARAN, INISHEER, 1965 ‘ WILL THE DAY HOLD?’ they are framed fast frame in 1997. now do theses have value.. I WANT TO SALE IT TO SOMEONE WHO CAN APPRCIATE THE ART

  18. Bluntzer Christophe
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Un tres très GRAND Photographe pour ses merveilleuses photos dans les iles Aran en noir et blanc, mais aussi les quelques rares en couleur incroyable cette lumière on ne se croirait pas dans cette ambiance en Irlande mais en Sicile…
    J’apprends ce jour sa disparition en parcourant le Web, paix à son Ame.

  19. Phil Martin
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about Bills death, i was going to contact him as i identified my grandad in the Jameson photo.RIP.

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