British Pathé , the purveyor of newsreel films from the silent era, have recently uploaded a gigantic amount of material from the Irish revolutionary period. These are first hand news sources, the kind of films that brought news of the Irish war to viewers around the world, and are thus an invaluable resource for examining how the conflict was viewed back then. Please give some of them a look on their official Youtube channel if you have the time. Here are a few of the ones I found most interesting.
War In Ireland – Easter Rebellion (1916)
One of many reused reels of footage detailing destruction of Dublin’s centre after the Easter Rising. I was always struck by the sight of so many people just standing around and gawking at the rubble. It had been a long time since such warfare had occurred in the capital.
Waterford Election (1918-1921)
Various footage of electioneering in the Waterford area, seemingly. Gives some indication of how political campaigns of the day revolved around large public meetings.
British In Ireland (1916-20)
Various reels of British troops in the countryside, all staged very carefully I would imagine. Interesting to see one of the later moments, which appears to show military personnel and local Irish working together to make a sabotaged road workable again.
Irish Free State Treaty Signed (1921)
This one with a somewhat unwelcome modern voiceover.
Dublin Ireland In The Wake (1922)
One of several detailing the destruction faced by Dublin after the opening of the Civil War, with an obvious bias towards the “Free State” side.
Somewhere In Ireland (1922)
This is just general Civil War footage. Those with some knowledge of the period will probably recognise a few spots from stills. The majority of this footage is, of course, staged for the benefit of the pro-Treaty military forces, but is fascinating in its own right: I would wager this was taken somewhere in the Munster area, sometime in mid or late Autumn.
Dublin Mourns Dead President (1922)
Footage of Arthur Griffith’s funeral, replete with major political and military figures of the day. The shots of Michael Collins taken here were some of his last.
Funeral Of Michael Collins (1922)
And then the direct follow-on. Very much the same in terms of style, only the subject matter is a bit more militaristic.
Ireland Healing Her Wounds (1924)
The Four Courts being rebuilt.
There are many more, and plenty outside of the revolutionary period, that are well worth a look.