With the help of the Irish Film Institute, we're celebrating the work of Father William Reid (later Monsignor Reid), whose collection of films gives us an incredible snapshot into American and Irish life from the 1930s until the 1970s. 

The footage captured below was taken by Monsignor Reid and provides scenic views of the Cliffs of Moher. O’Brien’s Tower, built in 1835 by Cornelius O’Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru the High King of Ireland, can be seen in the distance. In 2015, the Cliffs of Moher were listed as UNESCO sites of great natural beauty.

The video below is published with thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI), whom IrishCentral partnered up with in 2019 to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collection entails.

You can find all IrishCentral articles and video from the IFI here.


Monsignor Reid acquired his first ‘movie’ camera in the mid-1930s. He enjoyed capturing fleeting moments and filmed a wide variety of subjects, mainly in color, from the 1930s to the 1970s. In addition to footage of family, friends and beautiful Irish scenery, he captured holiday-makers in France, Spain, England, and Italy.

He was born William Henry Reid in Loughglynn, Co. Roscommon in 1908. He was educated locally at St Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen before moving to Louvain, Belgium, to study for the priesthood. In 1936, the newly-ordained Father Reid set sail for Oklahoma, the diocese in the USA to which he had been assigned. He became one of the youngest priests ever to be made a Monsignor.

Throughout his life, Monsignor Reid maintained close family ties with Ireland. He spent four weeks every summer relaxing in the homestead (usually accompanied by his younger brother, Reverend Martin Reid) and filming his family and friends – holidays, weddings, picnics, anniversaries in Sligo, Roscommon and elsewhere around the country. He fulfilled his dream to retire in his native parish of Loughglynn and passed away in September 1979.

Monsignor Reid’s collection of 16mm films was deposited with the IFI Irish Film Archive by a relative Ann O’Brien (née Reid).

To watch more gems from Ireland’s past, visit the IFI Player, a virtual viewing room from the Irish Film Institute, giving audiences across the globe free instant access to Irish heritage preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. Irish Culture from the last 100 years is reflected through documentaries, animation, adverts, amateur footage, feature film and much more. Or download the IFI Player Apps for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

*Originally published in July 2019. Updated in July 2023.