"Dundalk Races 1960," an Irish language newsreel, is now available to stream for free on the Irish Film Institute's IFI Archive Player.

Set near the historic Cooley Mountains, the 1960 Dundalk Autumn Races took place once the harvest was in and bookies hoped to coax some easy money from the farmers of Louth, Monaghan, and Meath.

Tensions rose in the fifth race where there were eight horses running a flat race over the course of a mile.

With a prize of a hundred sovereigns at stake, it was the men’s money that was really sweating.

On the home run, it’s neck and neck but it’s Settlement that comes in first place to the delight of some lucky punters.

“Dundalk Races 1960 – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 73” is a part of the IFI’s Gael Linn collection.

The Irish Film Institute’s Gael Linn Collection

Gael Linn was established in 1953 to promote Irish language and culture. Co-founder and first manager, Riobard Mac Góráin, immediately realised the importance of promoting the language through entertainment and popular media.

Gael Linn’s initial foray into production was the first regular indigenous cinema newsreel since the Irish Events series of the 1920s.

In 1955, Ernest Blythe, Chairman of Comdhail Naisiunta na Gaelige, lent Gael Linn £100 to produce a short film for cinema and the Amharc Éireann (A View of Ireland) newsreel was born.

From 1956 to mid-1957, Amharc Éireann consisted of short single story items that were distributed to cinemas throughout the country on a monthly basis. Their popularity was immediate and by mid-1957, the Rank Film Distributors agreed to supply them to Irish cinemas along with their own newsreel, at which point they became issued on a fortnightly basis.

By 1959, the success of this home-grown newsreel resulted in it being produced weekly and it expanded to include four separate news stories.

The series continued until 1964 when the immediacy of television as a means of relaying news to the Irish population rendered the newsreel obsolete.

Produced by Colm O’Laoghaire, a total of 267 editions of Amharc Éireann were made. Although Gael Linn’s Amharc Éireann production ceased in late 1964, its influence is ongoing. The range of Irish interest subjects covered (from hard news stories to more magazine-like items) provides a vivid window into the development of modern Ireland at a particularly progressive point in its development and provides a first-hand insight into the moral, cultural and economic development of the country throughout the Whittaker and Lemass eras.

"Dundalk Races 1960" is published here with kind permission of Gael Linn and thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI), who IrishCentral has partnered up with to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collection entails. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.

To watch more historic Irish footage, visit the IFI Archive Player, the Irish Film Institute’s virtual viewing room that provides audiences around the globe free, instant access to Irish heritage preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. Irish Culture from the last century is reflected through documentaries, animation, adverts, amateur footage, feature films, and much more. You can also download the IFI Archive Player App for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

IrishCentral has partnered up with the IFI to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collections entail. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.

* Originally published in 2022, updated in Nov 2023.