Modernisation

St. Patrick’s Country

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The story of the Irish patron Saint, Patrick is explored through footage of his adopted homeland in picturesque Northern Ireland. This 1935 film from the Pathe Pictorial cinemagazine series depicts the village of Raholp, Co. Down, where St. Patrick grew up. The narrator tells how very little has changed in the sleepy village since the […]

A Bygone Craft

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This 1931 newsreel depicts Irish men making a coracle, a hide-covered boat used for salmon fishing. The boat-making process is demonstrated to camera, from creating a base with twigs, to weaving the structure and covering it in animal hide for waterproofing. Men then push the coracle out onto the River Boyne and lay fishing nets. […]

Wonderful Western Islanders

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This short documentary depicts the lives of the inhabitants of Aran Mór off the coast of Galway in 1924. This short film, made about ten years before Flaherty’s epic Man of Aran, is probably the earliest surviving film of the islands. It presents a multi-faceted portrait of island life showing locals going about their daily […]

Irish Co-Operative Gathers Peat

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In this 1920s newsreel, an Irish co-operative digs, stacks and gathers turf. It is an activity involving the whole community – even the local priest is involved in overseeing the sacks of turf loaded onto a barge before being transported by canal. ‘Rathangan’ is inscribed on the side of the barge and a man waves […]

Preparing for the Electricity Era

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In this newsreel from 1929, the dawn of a new Ireland can be seen with the Shannon Scheme paving the way for new kind of energy. In a dramatic fashion, Master Vincent Bowen presses a plunger to detonate explosives to blow up the 120 foot chimneys of the Carrick-on-Suir Creamery. The Shannon (hydroelectric) Scheme was […]

The Shannon Scheme

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The Shannon (hydroelectric) Scheme was a huge development by the Irish Free State in the 1920s. The aim was to harness the power of the River Shannon (Ireland’s longest river) and, through the Ardnacrusha Power Plant in County Clare, produce electricity across the country. The Shannon Scheme was officially opened on July 22nd 1929. One […]

Connemara’s Appeal

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This newsreel shows the hardship endured by the people of Connemara following the economic recession that came in the wake of political turmoil. Ireland was in a ruinous state, following the War of Independence, the Civil War and economic depression. Between 1923 and 1924, wages were cut by 16%, the old age pension was reduced […]

Sandycove Gala

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It is Summer, Dublin, 1923 and this newsreel shows the annual Sandycove Gala and Dun Laoghaire Regatta in full swing. The crowds are dressed in their finest attire to cheer on participants, a man conducts a group of boys playing instruments and swimmers bravely dive into the Baths. The delighted winner then poses for camera. […]