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.

NEW YEAR SALE FEVER – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 73

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New Year’s Day 1964 and the queue outside Arnotts department store on Henry Street was full of keen-eyed bargain hunters eagerly awaiting the doors to open. The line grew longer and crowds spilled out onto the street among passing cars (Henry Street was later pedestrianised in the 1980s). When the doors finally opened, the throng […]

DUNDALK RACES 1960 – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 73

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Set near the historic Cooley Mountains, the 1960 Dundalk Autumn Races took place once the harvest was in and bookies hoped to coax some easy money from the farmers of Louth, Monaghan and Meath. Tensions rose in the fifth race where there were 8 horses running a flat race over the course of a mile. […]

NIGERIAN INDEPENDENCE BALL – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 73

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The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin was a hive of activity as African and Irish people celebrated Nigeria gaining their independence on the 1st of October 1960. As the crowd danced the night away to swinging jazz music, the Lord Major of Dublin and his wife enjoyed the festivities with their guest of honour Mr. Vincent […]

NEW CORK DOCKLAND – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 73

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The Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, opened the new dockyard in Cork as construction began on a 15,000-ton ship, the biggest of its kind to be made in Ireland at this time.The 400-strong audience (which included Erskine Childers, Minister for Transport) looked on in excitement as the Bishop of Cloyne blessed the site and the Taoiseach pressed […]

TIPPERARY NEW YEAR’S NENAGH – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 32

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New Year’s Day, 1960, and the annual greyhound coursing contest was underway in Nenagh. All bets were off as the crowd gathered and the competition began. The judges took to the course on horseback to survey the long and extensive track, the hare was released and the hounds were soon in pursuit. There were 6 […]

KENMARE’S LAST TRAIN – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 32

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On the 1st of February 1960, Kenmare locals and railway workers looked on as the last train made its final journey on the tracks before the line closed. These trains were quite slow by modern standards but acted as a faster more efficient method of travel compared to a horse and cart. However, due to […]