The Gael Linn Collection

Gael Linn was established in 1953 to promote Irish language and culture. Co-founder and first manager, Riobard Mac Góráin, immediately realised the importance of promoting the language through entertainment and popular media. Gael Linn’s initial foray into production 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 Éireann (A View of Ireland) newsreel was born. From 1956 to mid-1957 Amharc Éireann 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 newsreel obsolete.

Produced by Colm O’Laoghaire, a total of 267 editions of Amharc Éireann were made. Although Gael Linn’s Amharc Éireann production ceased in late 1964 its influence is ongoing. 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 and provide a first-hand insight into the moral, cultural and economic development of the country throughout the Whittaker and Lemass eras.

LEINSTER RIFLE SHOOT – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 171

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The 1962 Leinster Gun Championships were held in Dublin with gunmen visiting from the 6 counties of Ulster to take part. There were a hundred rifle clubs in Northern Ireland and only 3 in the Republic of Ireland at this time. Thorough safety checks were carried out on all the guns before the competition. George […]

JAPANESE GOODS ON DISPLAY – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 126

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A visit to Brown Thomas’ sumptuous department store where a range of beautiful and unusual Japanese trinkets, toys and other goods are on display. In 1961, it wasn’t uncommon in Ireland for many ordinary household items to be manufactured in Japan. However, this exhibition showcased goods which demonstrated the beauty of Japanese artistry in more […]

BORD NA MÓNA FACTORY OPENING – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 126

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Erskine Childers, Minister for Transport and Power, attends the official opening of the new Bord na Móna factory at Croghan in Co. Offaly in 1961. This newsreel documents the Minister and other dignitaries in attendance at the factory opening which heralded the creation of over 100 new jobs and the capacity to produce 100,000 peat […]

DUBLIN STUDENTS PROTEST – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 126

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November 1961 and students from Trinity College marched the main streets of Dublin in protest at nuclear bomb testing. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND, was established in the UK in 1958 in the wake of widespread fear of conflict and the effects of nuclear testing. CND quickly grew with branches in Scotland, Wales and […]

BRITTAS BAY – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 240

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This newsreel from 1964 shows work being carried out on the beached ship Seabank on Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow. Built in 1935, the ship was sold to Irish International Shipping after it became beached on March 4th at Ardanairy in County Wicklow. The four-ton cargo ship had been a fixture on the beach front and […]

TRAVELLING PEOPLE – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 80

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On 1st of December 1960, Gardaí visited every traveller caravan in the country on behalf of a commission set up by the Government to investigate the case of the Knights of the Road. The camp which was full of barrel-topped caravans with exquisite wooden carvings and decorative painted exteriors, was located in Cherry Orchard just […]

FUR OF THE FUTURE – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 80

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Moriarty makes his debut at the show where 100s of chinchillas are exhibited and judged. However, unlike the tribunal, poor Moriarty will not be able to avoid his fate. P.J. Holland, a judge from Wales, inspected the coats and assessed the quality of the fur. Judges from all over world came to these shows to […]

BADMINTON CHAMPIONSHIPS – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 80

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The All Ireland Badminton Championships Men’s Doubles took place in Terenure in Dublin on the 16th of December 1960, where the Ulster and Leinster teams fought for the title. Winston Wilkinson or “Wilkie” and David McCullough were the Leinster team and played David Porter and Leslie McAlpine from Ulster. David Porter shouldn’t have been too […]

DUBLIN CREATION BALL – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 80

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Set in the lavish surroundings of Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel Ballroom, Lady Valerie Goulding hosts a ladies fashion show to raise money for the Central Remedial Clinic. The December night was full of glitz and glamour with cocktails, dancing and music provided by 1960s swingers Earl Gill & the Hoedowners. The proceeds made from the night […]

ROSE OF TRALEE FINAL 1962 – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 171

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The Rose of Tralee took place on September 2nd 1962 at the Ashe Memorial Hall in Tralee. The competition was fierce, with contestants from all over the world competing for the prestigious title. Every year the festival brings young women of Irish descent from around the world to Kerry for a lively celebration of Irish […]

AUTUMN FASHIONS ON PARADE – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 171

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Dublin, November 1962; The House of Cassidy’s on South George’s Street was abuzz with excitement as the Autumn Season fashion show commenced. With 123 outfits to be seen on stage, the Cassidy’s regulars were spoilt for choice, from luxurious warm winter coats to snazzy red cocktail dresses. The announcer of the nightwear segment notes how […]