The Irish Film Institute today unveiled its new online archive player, making over 1,200 minutes of Irish domestic cinema available to view for free in online for the first time.

From footage JFK’s visit to Ireland just months before his assassination, to old advertisements featuring a young Bob Geldof, the new online IFI Player draws on some of the best in the IFI’s extensive film archive, offering material from as far back as 1910. Included among the service are newsreels, travelogues, public information videos and homeshot videos along with advertisements.

With thousands and thousands of hours of footage still in the physical archive’s vaults, the archivists had a hard job in deciding what exact clips, and films should be digitized to give an good representation of the rest of the collection.

Read more: These online parish records will forever change how we find our Irish ancestors

“There were many considerations,” Kasandra O’Connell, head of the archive told The Irish Times.

“There is a lot of material we don’t hold the rights to. We had to work hard to clear the material. We also wanted to make sure we represented as many parts of the collection as possible. We go from around 1910 right up until the present day. It’s important that people realise the archive is constantly being created.”

Showcasing some of the most important social, political, and historical events in over  hundred years of modern Irish history, the work of filmmakers throughout the last century has captured the incredible development of Ireland, and now allows viewers to look back on the changes that have taken place through footage of everyday life and major Irish achievements.

The IFI Irish Film archive currently acquires and preserves Ireland’s moving image collection and over the past few years has been developing a means through which they could make their collection available to a much larger worldwide audience. The result is the IFI Player, to which they will continue to add more content as their archive grows.

“The IFI Player is a ground-breaking development for the IFI, as it allows us to fulfil our mission to make our collections from the IFI Irish Film Archive available to a much broader audience base,” said IFI director Ross Keane.

Film from each of the IFI’s archives is present. including the Gael Linn collection, a series of  Newsreels showcasing Irish interest subjects from hard news stories to lighter magazine like items, and the Horgan Brothers’ Collection, some of the earliest moving images made in Ireland.

Recommending her own highlights, O’Connell points to a TV ad that many Irish people may remember from around the Live Aid Bob Geldof era. The advertisement for anti-vandalism became quite infamous in Ireland at the time and is not to be viewed anywhere else.

“You may remember it,” she said.

“It features a version of Another Brick in the Wall. After a lot of asking for many years to get it cleared we finally managed it. It’s not that modern. It’s from around the Live Aid era. But it’s brilliant for a lot of different reasons.”

Other footage includes a look back at the Rose of Tralee in decades past as well as silent footage showing a way of life in Ireland long since gone and many silent films.

The contents of the archive can be viewed here.

H/T: Irish Times

Hours of historical footage available in the new IFI Player. Irish Film Institute