"Discovering Ireland," an Irish tourism promotional film produced in 1982 by Bord Fáilte (now known as Fáilte Ireland), presents Ireland and its rich history as an attractive holiday destination.

From the bustling streets of Dublin during the St Patrick’s Day Parade, to the serene calm of the River Shannon, this film, directed by Louis Marcus and now available on the Irish Flim Institute's IFI Archive Player, shows the breadth of choice Ireland has to offer any visitor.

The 1980s were especially difficult times for Ireland. With high unemployment rates resulting in mass emigration, the country relied heavily on tourism to sustain the economy. Films like this one proved a useful tool in promoting the country to foreign travelers as an ideal place to visit, by showcasing the nation’s cultural and natural amenities. With extensive improvements in transportation and local infrastructure, coupled with extensive marketing plans to promote Irish heritage, Ireland quickly became a busy tourist destination in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

To see more from The Bord Fáilte Film Collection, click here.

The Bord Fáilte Film Collection at the Irish Film Institute

Some of the largest collections held by the IFI Irish Film Archive come from Government departments and State and semi-state bodies. Apart from their educational and entertainment value in a country that did not have its own television station until 1961, these state-sponsored films are noteworthy not only for their high production values and interesting content but also for the caliber of those involved in their creation.

Luminaries of the Irish acting world would often make appearances, and at a time when the Irish film industry was underdeveloped and opportunities for technical training were limited, important figures such as Louis Marcus, Bob Monks, Colm Ó Laoghaire, George Fleischmann, Gerard Healy, and Rex Roberts all found gainful employment in their production.

Films made for Bord Fáilte provide not only a beautiful record of Ireland’s landscape and topography throughout the 20th century but also serve to illustrate the development of the Irish tourist industry and the image that ‘brand’ Ireland was endeavoring to project, as it marketed itself as an international tourist destination.

"Discovering Ireland" is published here with kind permission of Fáilte Ireland and with thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI). 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 App for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

*Originally published in 2022. Updated in February 2024.