With the centenary of Ireland’s 1916 Rising being celebrated throughout 2016, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the momentous events that transformed Ireland in the early 1900s. But what about everyday life?
The Mitchell and Kenyon film company, founded in 1987 by Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon pioneered the idea of “Local Films for Local People” (as their slogan termed it) in the nascent commercial film industry.
The idea was both simple and ingenious: they would film factory workers streaming out of the gates, parades, street scenes, ships arriving, seaside vacationers, etc., and then invite them to watch themselves on the big screen.
Between May 1901 and December 1902, they filmed 28 such short films in Ireland, from tram rides in Belfast to a congregation leaving Church in Dublin to boat races in Cork. The clips of those collected here – in 13 videos from the Seandolanireland YouTube channel – offer an astounding, time-traveling view of Ireland long ago.
Tram ride, Belfast:
Congregation leaving Jesuit Church of St. Francis Xavier, Dublin:
Panorama of College Green, Dublin:
Congregation leaving St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Dublin:
Wexford Railway Station:
Cattle Market in Derry:
Life in Wexford:
Ride from Blarney to Cork on Cork & Muskerry Light Railway:
Cork Fire Brigade turning out:
Preparation of the Cork Exhibition Grounds and erection of buildings:
Two-oared boat race, Sundays Well, Cork:
Trade Procession at opening of Cork Exhibition:
Ambush II at Eyrefield Lodge, The Curragh: