Irish Film Institute Brings the Past Online

U.S. President John F. Kennedy is greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of children and nuns from the Convent of Mercy, as he arrives from Dublin by helicopter at Galway's sports ground, Ireland, June 29, 1963. (AP Photo)
U.S. President John F. Kennedy is greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of children and nuns from the Convent of Mercy, as he arrives from Dublin by helicopter at Galway's sports ground, Ireland, June 29, 1963. (AP Photo)

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
October / November 2016

The Irish Film Institute has digitized over 1,200 minutes of Irish cinema, documentary, and public information films dating back to 1910. The free online archive (available at ifiplayer.ie) also includes a number of rare Irish-American reels.

“We wanted to make sure we represented as many parts of the collection as possible,” head of the archive Kasandra O’Connell told the Irish Times. “It’s important that people realize that the archive is constantly being created.”

Notably, the collection digitized a 27-minute documentary that details President Kennedy’s historic 1963 visit to Ireland. Produced by Father Gerry Smith of the Columban Fathers, it was completed only a month before the president’s assassination.

The collection also includes The Lad From Old Ireland, a 1910 silent short film that tells the story of an impoverished Irish farmer who emigrates to New York in search of a prosperous new life. A joint Irish and American production, it was the first major movie production to be filmed on two separate continents. ♦

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