This short clip from the Travel Film Archives, entitled “Glimpses of Erin 1934,” gives an amazing snapshot of the daily lives of the Irish. From ladies carrying bales of hay on their backs to mothers mourning the emigration of their children - the film shows how much has changed but also how much stays the same.
Part of the charm of the video is the narrator’s comments on “the real charm of old Erin” as he describes “her picturesque and peaceful countryside where a vast majority of her people engage in agricultural pursuits and live in humble but happy circumstances.”
Having commented on the economic sense of living from the land the clip takes a comical turn to introduce the viewer to the fattest man in Ireland.
“And here is Dick Harrow who says he’s the fattest man to have ever set foot on the Emerald Isle,” says the narrator.
“Dick says he weight 560 pounds, is five feet 11 inches tall, 35 years of age, married and has a perfectly normal son. He claims his health is fine but after dragging a donkey around all day he becomes a bit fatigued.”
The eight-and-a-half minute clip goes on to explore the stone walls of the west of Ireland, the livestock, the blarney of the Irish, and the thatched cottages to the south, including some amazing footage of the people of Ireland going about their daily business.
The narrator says, “To sit in an old kitchen beneath to low rafters of a thatched cottage, sipping a good cup of tea, and listening to the tales that Irish peasants tell so well is to know Ireland as it can never be known otherwise. Here a stranger needs no introduction for he is alway a welcome guest.”
Not much has changed then! Tea and telling stories are still at the center of any Irish household. Not sure about the “peasants” though.
The mothers of Ireland, illustrated by some ladies with heavy scarves wrapped around their faces, are also singled out for having suffered heartache as their children left home to seek their fortunes in the United States, something that continues today with Ireland’s economic recession and the “brain drain.”
The snapshot of history moves on to explore Dublin and especially Trinity College Dublin, a 17th century haven in the center of the bustling city.
The movie concludes with the high praise that they found Ireland to be “one the most interesting, helpful and picturesque countries in the world.”
For more visit Travel Film Archives.
Here’s the amazing clip: