Priceless footage of Irish Rebellion heroes available online for the first time

Lost footage of Irish Rebellion heroes available online for the first time

Unseen footage featuring some of the key figures in Irish history has been made available online for the first time.

The footage is from the era of the Easter Rising, The War of Independence and the Civil War and features figures such as Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera.

It has been hidden for years, with the only recordings kept abroad in British archives.

Lost footage of Irish Rebellion heroes available online for the first time

The material on the film includes Collins speaking in front of a huge crowd after signing the treaty to end British rule over 26 counties of Ireland.

Elsewhere, footage shows de Valera during his visit to Boston in 1919.

Other scenes include the funeral procession in Dublin for Sinn Féin founder Arthur Griffith, the funeral of republican hunger striker Terence MacSwiney in Cork in 1920 and Countess Constance Markievicz being greeted by a crowd after being released from prison.

Visits to Dublin by British monarchs Queen Victoria in 1900, and King George V and Queen Mary in 1911 also feature.

As Ireland lacked home grown film-making expertise during the time, the recordings of these major events were kept abroad in British archives.

They were unavailable to the public until 2018. The Irish Independence Film Collection sees the historic footage repatriated and digitalised.

Ireland’s Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht provided funding for the Irish Film Institute (IFI) to create copies of the original newsreels.

The IFI transformed fragile film prints into digital copies and centralised them in Ireland for the first time.

Joe McHugh TD, who was Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht, and the Islands at the time, said: “Much of the footage being revealed here today has not been accessible or seen in public since its initial distribution and broadcast in cinemas a century ago.

“These hidden gems and rare glimpses into life during some of the most historic and turbulent times on our island’s history are now being repatriated, preserved and re-published for us all to share.

“We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all those involved in progressing this project to date and we wish them well in their endeavours in completing the final phase of the work to complete the project.”

Now the material is back home in Ireland the IFI are sharing it with the world free of charge on the IFI Player.

IFI director Ross Keane said: “The value of this moving image material cannot be overstated.”

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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling