The Associated Press and British Movietone have released a very special treat for all lovers of Ireland, its history and its culture: hours of historical film footage opening up a window on life as it used to be in Ireland.

The amazing footage includes scenes of Irish step-dancing “on primitive Inishmore, in Galway, where Gaelic is still the only language,” a young girl reciting a nursery rhyme and the calls of a town crier, as his voice echos from the town buildings around him while donkeys and carts shuffle on by.

British Movietone is an online newsreel archive, spanning from 1895 to 1986, that includes footage of historical events, news events, celebrities, sports, music, social history, science. and lifestyle.

Capturing incredible scenes from some major Irish historic events, the archive includes the Irish Cinema Ball at Jury's Hotel:

Scenes from the Knock Pilgrimage:

Miss Ireland 1942:

Eamon de Valera meeting Countess Markievicz:

Americans troops training in Ireland at “Battle School”:

Some major Irish sporting events:

And shots of Ireland’s Marines who set out from port to stop merchant vessels:

There are hours more footage available in the archive here.

Incredible historical footage of major Irish events available in a new online video archive.Movietone/YouTube