RTÉ Archives release their Weird and Wonderful collection to celebrate the official UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

What do opera singing dogs, the seventh son of a seventh son, a fairy tree, a hunt for monsters in the lakes of Connemara, a UFO in Mullinahone, a stretcher race and a magician priest who balances his niece on a sword all have in common?

They are all among the oddities captured by RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, throughout its decades of broadcasting. Their along among the clips featured in RTÉ Archives Weird and Wonderful collection released today (Oct 27) on the official UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. 

RTÉ Archives, the largest audiovisual archive collection in Ireland, has marked the day delving into the vaults to fish out a collection of 15 videos, which illustrate some eccentricities and nuances of Irish life in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

RTE Archive's "magician priest who balances his niece on a sword."

RTE Archive's "magician priest who balances his niece on a sword."

The archives hold Ireland’s largest audio visual collection, with over 650,000 thousand hours of moving image and sound recordings together with significant collections of photographs, manuscripts and administrative documents. The RTÉ Archives maintains and preserves a unique record of Irish life in the interest of the Irish public.

Curator at RTÉ Archives, Liam Wylie, said “We really enjoyed putting the Weird and the Wonderful collection together. It is a presentation of some of the more offbeat or bizarre stories of Irish life captured by RTÉ that will make you smile. We also hope it will make you think about the value of preserving audiovisual content for the future.”

UNESCO declared October 27 as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage to raise awareness of the significance of AV documents and to draw attention to the need to safeguard them.  Every year, activities are organized by different institutions worldwide around a theme.  The theme for 2016 is “It’s Your Story – Don’t Lose It.”

RTE Archive's footage of a report on horse meat.

RTE Archive's footage of a report on horse meat.

Commenting on the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, Bríd Dooley, Head of RTÉ Archives and newly elected President of the international audio visual professional representative organization FIAT/ IFTA said “The archives abound with stories which clearly connects our audiences everywhere. UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is a great opportunity to showcase the importance of keeping these memories intact for future generations and to shine a light on the fantastic work of the audiovisual archive sector and the continued need for funding to preserve these precious collections.” 

The Weird and Wonderful collection is presented on RTÉ Archive’s website, where content from the archives is published daily. So far this year, over 1,000 stories have been made available with the site attracting 1.4 million visits to date in 2016. To keep up with the latest stories from the archives follow @RTEArchives on Facebook and Twitter.

RTE Archive still of the "magician priest who balances his niece on a sword."RTE Archive