The Gael Linn Collection
Gael Linn was established in 1953 to promote Irish language and culture and its co-founder and first Manager, Riobard Mac Góráin immediately realised the importance of promoting the language through entertainment and the popular media. Gael Linn’s initial foray into film- making was the first regular indigenous cinema newsreel since the ‘Irish Events’ series of the 1920s. In 1955 Ernest Blythe, Chairman of Comdhail Naisiunta na Gaelige, lent Gael Linn £100 to produce a short film for cinema, and the Amharc Eireann (A View of Ireland) newsreel was born. From 1956 to mid-1957 Amharc Eireann consisted of short single story items that were distributed to cinemas throughout the country on a monthly basis. Their popularity was immediate and by mid-1957 the Rank Film Distributors agreed to supply them to Irish cinemas along with their own newsreel, at which point they became issued on a fortnightly basis. By 1959 the success of this home-grown newsreel resulted in it being produced weekly and it expanded to include 4 separate news stories. The series continued until 1964 when the immediacy of television as a means of relaying news to the Irish population rendered the news- reel obsolete. Produced by Colm O’Laoghaire, a total of 267 editions of Amharc Eireann were made. Although Gael Linn’s Amharc Eireann production ceased in late 1964 its influence is on- going. The range of Irish interest subjects covered (from hard news stories to more magazine- like items) provide a vivid window into the development of modern Ireland at a particularly progressive point in its development providing a first-hand insight into moral, cultural and the economic development of the country throughout the Whittaker and Lemass eras.