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 which included Gloucester Street (now Seán MacDermott Street), Rutland Street and Gardiner Street. It was an impoverished neighbourhood of densely populated tenements. Father Delaney grew up in a middle-class family and had great admiration for residents of the inner-city, particularly admiring their sense of community and resilience in the face of hardship. His parishioners are the subject of many of his films and his films of tenement life provide us with a fascinating glimpse of life in 1930s inner city Dublin. These scenes include children playing in rubble, stall holders, clothes drying on the balconies of flats and residents of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Convent (which housed a Magdalene Laundry).

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

Dun Laoghaire Storm – Father Delaney Collection

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This short amateur film by Father Delaney shows powerful waves crashing over the harbour walls on a stormy evening in Dun Laoghaire. A small group of people gather dangerously close to the edge as the boats and buoys rock erratically in the distance. One gentleman can be seen making a dash to avoid a nasty […]

FIRST COMMUNION – Father Delaney Collection

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In this film, Father Delaney captures a group of children dressed in their finest outfits, proudly walking down an inner city Dublin street on their way to First Holy Communion. A crowd gathers at the railings of the church to see the event and wave at the camera. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained in […]

Corpus Christi – Father Delaney Collection

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This amateur film by Father Jack Delaney shows hundreds of members of the inner city parish around Gloucester Street. They are 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 […]

SPORTS DAY – Father Delaney Collection

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Summer, Dalymount Park, 1934: The school sports day is in full swing. A band plays and participants compete in boxing, cycling and a sack race as crowds cheer from the stands. It’s clear that a fun day was had by all. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and […]

CARD GAMES – Father Delaney Collection

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

CAMBRIA SHIP – Father Delaney Collection

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

KILLINEY HILL – Father Delaney Collection

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This short amateur film shows a trip to Killiney Hill, Co Dublin, 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 towards Dalkey Island. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was […]

WEST CORK – Father Delaney Collection

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This short film shows a delightful visit to West Cork. The holidaymakers (friends of Father Delaney) relax in the garden of Casey’s Hotel, take a boat to Garnish Island, bathe in the sea and join in an impromptu group singalong and a spur-of-the-moment céille. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age […]

CROQUET – Father Delaney Collection

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This rare footage shows gentlemen (who appear to be Christian Brothers) playing croquet and relaxing in their spare time. Father Jack Delaney (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish priest in Dublin in the 1930s and 1940s. He served mainly around Seán McDermott Street (then Gloucester Street), […]

CHILDREN’S PLAY – Father Delaney Collection

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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 […]

GLOUCESTER STREET – Father Delaney Collection

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

Magdalene Laundry – Father Delaney Collection

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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 and features a Magdalene Laundry (which closed its doors in 1999). In the film we see nuns and residents playing games in the garden, as well as dancing and performing in a […]