What did harvesting use to look like in Ireland? This color footage from filmmaker Desmond Egan, available on the Irish Film Institute, sheds some wonderful insight.

"Harvest," the superb documentary shot by avid amateur filmmaker Desmond Egan, in 1946, explores antiquated harvesting methods used in remote areas of Ireland.

From horse and cart to manual tilling of the land, "Harvest" proposes a more profitable and efficient way of working that would result from investing in machine technology.

About the Irish Film Institute’s Desmond Egan Collection

Desmond Egan was a skilled amateur filmmaker with a keen eye for detail. A wine merchant by trade, he lived with his wife and four daughters in Glenageary, County Dublin. His films were shot between 1937 and 1957.

Egan had been involved in a professional capacity with architect Michael Scott (designer of Busáras) and cameraman George Fleischmann when they established the production company Hibernia Films in 1945. The company produced a series of government information films, including Silent Order, Next Please, and Voyage to Recovery.

His professional experience no doubt influenced his own film-making activity. His films, unlike those of many other amateurs, are finely crafted and edited works. He worked exclusively with color film rendering his beautiful garden (his wife’s pride and joy), his home (designed by Michael Scott) and his daughters’ childhood with great warmth and vibrancy. His short documentaries, though silent, are invaluable records of the subjects they explore. Shot with great skill, they are all cleverly constructed and edited to include explanatory titles and inter-titles.

You can learn more about the IFI's Desmond Egan Collection here.

'Harvest' is published here with thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI), who IrishCentral have 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 Apps 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 2021, updated in December 2023.