Thursday 20 October 2016

Dublin in the rare auld times: Archive footage of the city

Children on horse in Ballymun
Children on horse in Ballymun
Dublin Grand Prix
Old O'Connell Street
Walt Disney meets Dev
Public at Dublin Horse show

Dubliners can now travel back in time to see Eamon de Valera chit chat with Walt Disney, or watch cars race around the Phoenix Park as part of the Irish Grand Prix.

For the first time ever, the public can access extensive archive footage of the capital online, thanks to a joint initiative by the Associated Press (AP) and British Movie Tone.

One bizarre news report follows filmmaker Walt Disney's 1946 trip to Ireland to research leprechauns.

The filmmaker met with then Taoiseach Eamon de Valera during his visit. The meeting could have formed part of Disney's research for the 1959 film Darby O'Gill and the Little People, starring Sean Connery.


Images of Disney's visit to the Phoenix Park are shown in the clip.

Another report is from one of just three Irish Grand Prix races held in the Phoenix Park in the 1930s. The British Movie Tone report states 'Italian Car Wins Irish Grand Prix'.

Among the most recently captured footage is a news reel from Ballymun, centring on the proposed introduction of the control of horses legislation.

Youngsters are seen riding horses bareback and one explains to a reporter that the horses "make good pets" and help "keep them away from drugs".

Some of the now razed Tower Blocks can be seen in the background, which is sure to stir up some nostalgia among those who lived in the iconic flats.

Other footage f includes shots of O'Connell Street and snowy scenes from Dublin Zoo.

People can also have a look back on a St Patrick's Day parade from the 1970s and football and hurling match reports.

Some one million minutes of footage has been uploaded to the British Movie Reel YouTube channel, in what AP described as a "view on demand, visual encyclopaedia".

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