"Songs of the Emerald Isle," an Irish travelogue from 1955,  is available to watch for free on the Irish Film Institute's IFIPlayer.

This short film "Songs of the Emerald Isle" presents five much-loved Irish airs and ballads against a backdrop of the Irish landscape.

Bing Crosby sings “How Can You Buy Killarney?” (from his St Patrick’s Day Parade album), John Feeney sings “The Connemara Shore,” and Connie Foley sings “Lovely Leitrim.” 

These songs of yearning and nostalgia are illustrated with images of Irish Travellers, fishermen, foresters and farmers, ancient monuments, rich farmlands, seascapes, and the River Shannon. 

In Cavan, the Power Dancers and Ulster champion Marie McCluskey perform jigs and reels in a schoolyard accompanied by an accordion player.

Locations in the film include Oughterard, Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Fenagh Abbey, County Leitrim, County Galway, Cavan, the River Shannon, and the western coast.

This digital copy has been created from the sole print of the film preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive collection.

The original 16mm print was clearly much-loved and often screened and shows some signs of wear and tear including occasional slight picture jumps and audio gaps, which the IFI hopes will not affect your enjoyment of the film.  

The video below is published thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI), which IrishCentral has 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 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 Player Apps for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

* Originally published in 2021 and updated in 2024.