A still from footage of the Golden Jubilee of the 1916 Rising, from RTE's Archives.RTE

Fourteen remarkable movies from Ireland’s national broadcaster, Raidió Teilifís Éireann’s (RTÉ) archive chart the events of Easter Week 1966, 50 years after the Rising of 1916.

Using rare colour footage, a new exhibition from RTÉ Archives will look at the commemorative events of Easter 1966 from a unique perspective as part of RTÉ’s Road to the Rising series of events and programmes.

The Golden Jubilee of 1916 in Colour” provides an online record of the events of Easter Week 1966 captured by RTÉ in the biggest outside broadcast operation since the visit of President Kennedy in 1963.  Television producer Michael Johnston spearheaded the drive to document the week’s activities in color, at a time when nearly all television output was black and white. As a result, RTÉ produced and archived  rare colour footage of events across Ireland during that poignant week in Easter 1966, when the country reflected on a revolution that for many was still in living memory.  Preserved and now available online, the footage can be viewed here.
Also included in the RTÉ Archives exhibition is a special project undertaken in the early1960’s to capture in-depth interviews with survivors of the Rising, and members of the IRB and Irish Volunteers. Five of these powerful programmes, that were never broadcast, include interviews with Desmond Ryan, Cathal O’Shannon, Sean Nunan, Earnán de Blaghd and Denis McCullough. They are now available here.

They Remember 1916” is a series of personal memories of individuals who took part in the fighting. First broadcast in 1956 on Raidió Éireann, a collection of seven programmes from those who were part of the revolution is now available and accessible to all here.

“We are continually working to open up more of RTÉ’s Archives to the public,” says Brid Dooley, Head of RTÉ Archives.

“Currently we have in excess of 40 exhibitions available online, and content from RTÉ Archives is published daily on our website. In the lead up to the 100th anniversary of Easter Rising, as part of RTÉ Road to the Rising, RTÉ Archives plans to make more recorded testimonies from those involved in the events of 1916 available. RTÉ recorded interviews with survivors will help us better understand the events of Easter Week 1916, almost 100 years ago.”

Full details on RTÉ Road to the Rising’ are available at www.rte.ie/1916.

*Originally published April 2015.