Home The Father Delaney Collection

The Father Delaney Collection

Father Jack Delaney was born in 1906 and died in 1980. He was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish priest in Dublin in the 1930s and 1940s.

In the 1930s Fr Delaney was assigned to the North inner city parish that included Gloucester Street (now Seán MacDermott Street), Rutland Street and Gardiner Street. It was an impoverished neighbourhood where people lived in densely populated tenements. Father Delaney who had come from a comfortable middle-class family had great admiration for the people of the inner city, admiring their sense of community and their resilience in the face of hardship. Father Delaney’s parishioners are the subject of many of his films and his images of tenement life, scenes of children playing in rubble, stall holders, inner city flats with washing hanging from the balconies and the inhabitants of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Convent (which housed a Magdalene Laundry) provide us with a fascinating glimpse of life in inner city Dublin in the 1930s.

Father Delaney’s niece Irene Devitt, along with her late husband John Devitt, deposited her late uncle’s film collection with the IFI Irish Film Archive in the 1990s.

Father Delaney Collection: CORPUS CHRISTI

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This amateur film by Father Jack Delaney shows hundreds of members of the inner city parish around Gloucester Street participating in the annual Corpus Christi procession, a Roman Catholic ritual celebrating the Eucharist. Traditionally all Catholic parishioners attended. In Father Delaney’s film we see children in their first holy communion and other religious attire.  This […]

Father Delaney Collection: SPORTS DAY

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Dalymount Park on a sunny day in 1934 and the school sports day is in full swing. A band plays (though silently as the film has no soundtrack) and there is a huge variety of activities on show for the crowds in the stands to enjoy – from boxing and cycling to a jolly sack […]

Father Delaney Collection: CARD GAMES

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This film shows a group of people playing card games in the sunny back garden of a family home at a time when card games and board games such as bridge and dominoes  were very popular. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish priest […]

Father Delaney Collection: CAMBRIA SHIP

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A newlywed couple board the TSS Cambria II in Dun Laoghaire. They bid farewell to their loved ones and set sail for Holyhead. The Twin Screw Steamer, Cambria, serviced the Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route from 1921 to 1948 until it was scrapped and replace with the motor vessel Cambria. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was […]

Father Delaney Collection: KILLINEY HILL

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This short amateur film shows a trip to Killiney Hill on a beautiful sunny day. The Obelisk stands proudly on the hilltop with views of the Wicklow Mountains in the distance. A boat trip takes us from Bullock Harbour past the beautiful Sorrento Terrace and out past Dalkey Island. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained […]

Father Delaney Collection: WEST CORK

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This short film shows a delightful visit to West Cork where the holidaymakers – friends of Father Delaney – relax in the garden of Casey’s Hotel, take a boat to Garnish Island, bathe in the crystal clear waters  and join in an impromptu group sing- song and a spur-of-the-moment céille. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was […]

Father Delaney Collection: CROQUET

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  This rare footage shows gentlemen who appear to be Christian Brothers relaxing in their spare time  playing a game of croquet. Father Jack Delaney was born in 1906 and he died in 1980.  He was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish priest in Dublin in the 1930s […]

Father Delaney Collection: CHILDREN’S PLAY

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This beautifully shot footage dates from the 1930s and depicts children at play featuring fine costumes and a dressed stage that would rival many professional productions. It’s one of the many gems from the Father Delaney Collection. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish […]

Father Delaney Collection: GLOUCESTER STREET

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Gloucester Street (which became Sean McDermott Street in 1933) in Dublin’s inner-city, is alive with activity: children having fun and grappling for the camera’s attention;  teachers playing school yard games with students and women reluctantly posing for the camera.  Moments in time are captured in a heavily-populated Dublin neighbourhood.  The tenement dwellings here were later […]

Father Delaney Collection: Magdalene Laundry

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One of the most notable of Father Delaney’s films was made on the grounds of The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Convent  – a convent which housed a Magdalene Laundry – which closed its doors in 1999. In the film we see the nuns and residents playing games in the garden, as well as […]

Father Delaney Collection: NAVAN ROAD

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Dublin 1948, and on the Navan road a family gathers outside their home ready for an impromptu game of tennis. Shot decades before this part of the city was developed with housing estates, this footage gives a rare view of how rural the area was, despite being so close to Dublin city centre. Father Jack […]

Father Delaney Collection: DUBLIN ZOO

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A school visit to Dublin Zoo on a fine summer’s day. The highlight is a visit to the elephant’s enclosure where the Zookeeper demonstrates to the school boys how he can mount the elephant like a horse. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish […]