“Christmas Morning" is available to stream for free on the Irish Film Institute's IFI Archive Player.
Directed by Tiernan MacBride, "Christmas Morning" is a visual representation of the Irish folk song "Arthur McBride and The Sergeant," played and sung by Irish singer Paul Brady.
The lyrics tell the story of Arthur McBride (Paul Bennett) and his cousin (Paul Wilson) who fight off a recruiting sergeant (Godfrey Quigley) when he tries to enlist them in the British army.
The song itself is an old Irish anti-war song, and it is reported to have originated around 1840. It has been performed by many artists over the years including Bob Dylan.
The short Irish film "Christmas Morning" was nominated for a Palme d’Or in 1978 for Best Short Film.
Tiernan MacBride was the son of politician Seán MacBride and grandson of revolutionary Maud Gonne. MacBride was a key figure in the establishment of many prominent film-related organisations including the first Irish Film Board. The Library at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) is named after him in honor of his many years as a passionately engaged board member of the Irish Film Institute.
"Christmas Morning" is currently featured in the IFI Archive Player's Christmas Crackers, a delightfully varied collection that will trigger all sorts of memories of Christmases past.
Short Christmas-themed dramas showcase the early work of filmmakers Cathy Brady, Geraldine Creed, and Orla Walsh and surprising endeavors from screenwriter and playwright Enda Walsh, journalist Hugh Linehan, and commercials producer Tiernan MacBride.
1960s adverts boldly promote booze and cigarettes as ideal gifts for friends and family, and Gael Linn’s cinema newsreel (1959 – ’64) capture the magic of the city streets lighting up, the simplicity of The Moving Crib, and the charm of Moore Street traders with their wind-up toys, while Kieran Hickey’s Moonmen celebrates the hardy swimmers of the Half Moon Swimming Club as they brave the elements on Christmas Day 1965.
This collection of films from the IFI Irish Film Archive is a gift to all those who are home and those who are thinking of home.
"Christmas Morning" is published here with thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI). 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 Apps for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.
You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.
* Originally published in 2021, updated in Dec 2023.