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Ireland on Film

Irish films, films about Ireland and films relating to Ireland and the Irish. This guide includes films in the Media Collection of the Hesburgh Libraries, and information on the related book collections.

Radharc Documentaries - Annotated List

Radharc was a series of television documentaries made by a Catholic group headed by Fr. Joe Dunn (1930-96). The first films were among the earliest documentaries made for Irish television.  Irish history, social justice, the changing Catholic Church, Northern Ireland, missionary work, and the politics of developing countries are some of the subjects of the Radharc documentaries. Radharc is an Irish word which means view, or vision.

Between 1962 and 1996 some 450 films were made. The film archive is in Dublin where the Irish Film Institute is working to develop the Radharc Archive.  The IFI also has the production archive of Radharc and is working on the production of high-quality digital films from the archived film reels. The DVDs in the Hesburgh Collection are research-quality DVDs made from the films and may be used by students and faculty on-campus.

For information on the Radharc Archive in Dublin, see The Radharc Archive Project video.

Below is a list of Radharc documentaries available on DVD at the Hesburgh Library.  The list includes the description from the Radharc Archive website, slighty edited for our purposes, and is organized in geographic categories. Call numbers for the Hesburgh Library are included. Keywords are added to the description to facilitate searching.

A number of Radharc films are now available on the IFI Player.

For more information on this collection, please consult the Irish Studies Librarian.


And Now Folks, Fr. Cleary.
Newspaper columnist and entertainer. Fr Michael Cleary is also a curate in Dublin's bustling parish of Ballyfermot. This programme takes a look at the life and work of this popular larger-than-Iife personality in the Irish church. 1978.
Dublin; Michael Cleary (1933-93); Priests.
D 11229 FGN  

Bímis ag Rince.
SlAMSA is a unique and popular stage presentation of Irish folk culture. Out of its success has sprung a whole movement for the preservation of Ireland's folk customs. The film traces the development of this National Folk Theatre, and includes lively excerpts from SlAMSA.
Folk Theatre.
D 10111     

Bridgit's Night
This film documents the traditions and customs associated with St. Brigid's night. It was filmed in Donegal in 1961. Under 8 minutes in length, the narrative is in Irish, and a transcript is available.
St. Brigid's Day; religious traditions; Irish language.
D 03898

Convent Walls are Falling Down.
A compilation of a two-part Radharc report. In 1971 enormous changes were taking place in women's religious orders, not least in the way that nuns wanted to be perceived. The changes did not come without reluctance and some opposition from church authorities. This film features the Presentation Sisters and the Sisters of Mercy and was filmed inside the convent walls.
Nuns; Vocations: Religious Orders.
D 01580

Dear Angela.
Angela McNamara was Ireland's most popular agony aunt in the 1970s. As well as solving the country's emotional problems, Angela also travelled the country giving talks to parents and schoolchildren.
Advice columns
D 11226 FGN

Edel Quinn
The story of Edel Ouinn. Ireland's most famous lay missionary, told by those who knew and worked with her.
D 11266 FGN

Grace O'Malley, the Pirate Queen.
Grace O'Malley has passed into Irish folklore as Granuaile. Anne Chambers, author of the best-selling "Granuaile", recreates in this RADHARC programme the life and times of this extraordinary woman. Filmed against a backdrop of some of Ireland's most scenic locations, Clare Island, Achill, Lough Corrib and Connemara, the story is set in the Elizabethan period.
D 06877

Graiguenamanagh Abbey and Boat Train to Heuston.
Graiguenamagh Abbey:
The story of how a small Irish town in Co. Kilkenny tries to restore its famous abbey. Boat Train to Euston: An item filmed on the platform of London's Euston Train Station, the traditional entry point for millions of Irish emigrants to England.
D 09422

Life is the same on Inisheer, the smallest of the three Aran Islands on the west coast of Ireland, as it was many hundreds of years ago. Gaelic is still the language of its people, and there are neither roads, nor motor cars.
Inis Oirr; Irish language.
D 03887

It Happened at Knock.
An account of the famous Irish pilgrimage centre and its shrine commemorates the appearance of Our Lady in 1879.
Pilgrimage; Apparitions.
D 04974 FGN

King Dan the Liberator.
Assesses Daniel O'Connell in the light of recent thinking on war, violence, civil rights, liberation theology and peaceful protest. In the wake of the recent Gandhi film, O'Connell is ripe for rediscovery. A descendant, Prof. Maurice O'Connell of Fordham University provides new insight into the importance and complexity of O'Connell's contribution to the modern world.
Nonviolent protest; Daniel O'Connell; Catholic Emancipation.
D 11125 FGN


Northern Ireland

British Justice in Northern Ireland. Parts One and Two.
Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray were the first to proclaim the innocence of the Guilford Four and the Birmingham Six - more than ten years before it became fashionable to do so. This is a two part study of their work to publicise injustice in Northern Ireland over the past twenty years.(1990)
Northern Ireland; Guilford Four; Birmingham Six; Denis Faul; Raymond Murray.
D 11178 FGN

The Hurts - Strabane.
Both communities in Northern Ireland, the Catholic Nationalist and the Protestant Loyalist have been deeply hurt by the years of armed struggle. Much of the hurt is borne by women - wives and mothers left to struggle on when husbands and sons are taken from them by prison sentence or by violent death.
D 10091

No Tea for Soldiers.
This film was shot in Belfast in 1970, soon after the British army came to Northern Ireland. At first the armed forces were seen as neutral peacemakers but soon the catholic population began to regard them as another arm of Protestant supremacy in the province.
D 10082

The Puzzles of Paisley.
There are many seeming puzzles in the long public career of the Reverend Ian Paisley. Yet behind them all there is a remarkable behavioural consistency. A group of distinguished authors and journalists comment on that Ian Paisley phenomenon with help from RTE archives.
D 10266

The Two Traditions: Separate or Together. Part 1
A cold look at the integrated school question in Northern Ireland. What seems an obvious answer to community divisions looks more difficult in light of a range of factors peculiar to Northern Ireland. Is integration possible where it is most needed or of positive value where it is most possible?
D 03857

The Two Traditions: Separate or Together. Part 2
The attitudes of the different churches to integrated schools. The attempts by segregated schools to bridge the divide within and without the curriculum. But is it all too little too late?
D 03858

The Two Traditions. Origins.
The origin of the two traditions in Northern Ireland - Unionist and Nationalist. Why is it that religious divisions have led to so much hatred and violence in Ireland, when disparate religions live as good neighbours in other countries?
D 03839

The Two Traditions. 1641.
The rebellion of 1641 and the massacre of protestants lies at the root of much bitterness in Northern Ireland. New examination of historical evidence leads to questioning some of the received wisdom.
D 02766

We've Been Through it Together.
1964, the Radharc Team visited Derry and filmed people and places that have now become household names. Eleven years later they re-visited Derry and examined some of the changes - among them the fact that the then local curate Edward Daly, was by now Bishop of Derry.
D 10021

North America

Gross Ile. The Gateway and the Graveyard.
The little island in the St. Lawrence river near Quebec, Canada, where Irish ships, full of emigrants fleeing the famine were held in quarantine. An estimated 11,000 Irish are buried on the island.

D 05688

Ireland and the Making of Canada.
The ones who wrote the basic laws and constitution at the time of the establishment of Canada are generally taken to be the English and the French. But among the group called English, the largest group were in fact Irish. D 03905

Shot in Illinois, America. This programme depicts the activities of a young Jesuit seminarian who supports the downtrodden slum dwellers in Chicago's Black district. The district was a solid Irish Catholic neighbourhood but with time it became a black ghetto. Jack organised the Negroes into a non-violent protesting group for better housing and facilities from speculators and landlords. Jack McNamara is a living proof of how the white and black communities can assist each other.
Nonviolent protest; Catholic social workers.
D 03884

Stories from Irish America

City Politics
Coming to America without money or skills, the post famine Irish found few ways to move up the ladder - one exception was politics. Many of them found they had talents which fitted them for the rough and tumble of City Hall. Shot in Chicago, Illinois.
D 11297 FGN

Emigration and the Single Woman.
The pattern of emigration of women from Ireland to America in the last century reveals several interesting trends. Compared to other countries, more single women emigrated from Ireland, and afterwards developed careers as single women - many went into domestic service and school teaching. Service to the Church in the Sisterhoods was another important career for Irish women.
D 03883

From Beara to Butte.
Riobard O'Dwyer, a genealogist, has traced the family histories of all the people from the Beara Peninsula in West Cork. In the last century, thousands of Beara copper miners emigrated to the mines of Butte, Montana, and now Riobard travels to Butte to meet their descendants, and to learn about the place that has such close connections with West Cork.
D 03877

N. Y. P. D. Green.
The New York Police department is 150 years old this year<1995>. From its very beginnings up until recent times, the vast majority of its members were Irish. Even today, when the Irish form little more than 30% of the force it still has a Police Chief who was born in Dublin, John Timoney and a chaplain whose parents come from Co. Tyrone.
Police force; Immigrants.
D 11224 FGN

Sacramento -- A Very Irish Diocese.
Patrick Manogue was a 6ft. miner caught up in the California Gold Rush who later went to Paris to study for the priesthood, returned as pastor to a mining community, and eventually became the first bishop of Sacramento, California. For generations, the overwhelming majority of the priests of the diocese were Irishmen from Irish seminaries - a tradition which seems unlikely to continue.
D 03882

Sacred Space
In Chicago, when you ask Catholics where they live, they almost invariably give the name of their parish rather than the name of the street - an indication of the importance of the parish to the catholic community. The migration of population to outlying suburbs, however, and a growing shortage of priests and sisters has forced some painful decisions on parishes - but also stimulated new and creative ideas.
Chicago. City parishes.
D 03885

The Emigrant Chaplain.
Immigrants in a strange society have special needs and face particular problems, none more so than the wave of young Irish people who went to America in the mid 1980's. Branded as illegals, the church was one of the first institutions to offer help. Fr. Colm Campbell from Co. Down is chaplain to emigrants in New York.
Emigrants; New York.
D 11204 FGN

The Fenian Tradition.
So long as England denied home rule to Ireland, many Irish in America felt a crisis of identity - as if part of a conquered race. One reason perhaps why generation after generation of Irish Americans got involved in plotting rebellion, gun running and political lobbying, with historical record showing frequent and sometimes successful attempts to play a significant role in Irish affairs.
D 11233 FGN

The Irish Texans
In 1834 when Texas was part of Mexico, several hundred small farmers, mostly from Co. Wexford emigrated to South Texas as part of a planned settlement. Thomas O'Connor, a lad of sixteen put together a farm of 750,000 acres before he died. Descendants of the original settlers still live in the area, and with Texas oil lying underneath their land, they are not short of the good things in life.
D 11305 FGN

The Travellers of Murphy Village
Thirty years ago, Fr. Murphy persuaded a group of Irish travellers to stop living in trailer parks, and to buy land of their own and settle in South Carolina. The travellers, who had roamed throughout America for over a century, today have a prosperous settlement which they call Murphy Village.
Travellers; Immigrants.
D 11302 FGN

Fr. Corby and the Irish Brigade.
The American Civil War was undoubtedly the most traumatic event in American history. The Catholic Irish, anxious to prove they were good Americans, joined the Union Forces in great numbers. The patriotism and courage of the Irish Brigade and the "Fighting 69th" is legendary, so too is the story of their chaplain, Fr. William Corby.
Father William Corby; Fighting Irish.
D 03876


Gorta Gives a Dam
A look at the work of Gorta, the Irish Freedom from Hunger Campaign. Filmed in East, Central and West Africa, the film shows how Gorta runs programmes in agricultural education, irrigation, crop cultivation and teaches new methods of fishing.
Development aid; Zambia; Sierra Leone; Gambia; Kenya.
D 13453

He was our Patrick.
When Joseph Shanahan chose to work in Nigeria in 1902 it was still the white man's grave. Most of the missionaries who preceded him had died within a year or two of arrival.He took a mission with 2000 Christians - mostly ex-slaves. When he died there were 200,000 Christians. A Nigerian bishop once said of him " He was our St. Patrick ".
Nigeria; Missionaries; Bishop Shanahan.
D 03872

Kenya Comes of Age.
An account of the developments taking place in the Catholic Church in Kenya with special emphasis on the role that lay people are playing in the formation of small but dynamic Christian communities. The film also looks at the questions which missionaries based in Kenya are asking themselves about their role in these developments.
D 10802 FGN

Kikuyu Country.
Shot in Africa. Among the people of Kenya's largest tribe, the Kikuyu, education and the preaching of the gospel have gone hand in hand. This programme tells the story of the mission at Mangu in the Kikuyu country. It shows the work of the Holy Ghosts Fathers and the Franciscan Missionary Sisters and includes interviews with John Gannon, C.S.Sp. and Fr. Frank Soughley, C.S.sp.
Kenya; Missionaries.
D 13455 FGN

Night Flight to Uli.
Filmed in Biafra as the Nigerian civil war drew to a close and the surrounded Ibo people were without food and had to be supplied by international airlift through Sao Tome. This film includes an interview with the then Biafran leader, Colonel Ojuku.
Famine; Nigeria; Biafran War; Aid.
D 03871

Nyerere of Tanzania
A portrait of Julius K. Nyerere, President of Tanzania. The bulk of the film consists of an interview in which he spoke with humour and great candour about his life and philosophy as leader of Tanzania.
African governments; Julius Nyerere.
D 10661



Apostle of England - Aidan or Augustine.
Every schoolboy knows that Saint Augustine converted the English to Christianity. But what every schoolboy knows is not always true. In this programme, Tomas O Fiaich, historian and Cardinal argues that the title of Apostle of England belongs to the Irishman, Aidan of Lindisfarne rather than to the Roman, Augustine of Canterbury.
D 13452 FGN

Boat Train to Euston.
An item filmed on the platform of London's Euston Train Station, the traditional entry point for millions of Irish emigrants to England.

Communities of Faith: The Emmanuel Community.
Once known as the pagan city of Europe, Paris is now a centre of Catholic charismatic revivalism. The French capital is the birthplace of the Emmanuel Community, one of the newest and fastest growing Vatican endorsed lay movements. Its missionary activity at home and abroad has produced a strong youth following which finds faith and meaning through a traditional piety.
D 11176 FGN

Communities of Faith: The Samye Ling Community.
As numbers fall in the main churches, the eastern practice of Buddhism is on the rise in Scotland, where the largest Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Europe is based. Samye Ling's monastic community numbers around 70 monks and nuns. Irish devotees are among the thousands that travel there each year. Some, like Jinpa Tarchin ( formerly Steven from Dublin ) have stayed.
D 10659

House Hunters
This film documents the work of a young priest from Limerick, Fr. Eamonn Casey with the Irish in Britain. He formed the Housing Aid Society, which gave Irish people on small incomes the opportunity to buy their own house.
D 11301 FGN

The Tattie Hawkers (Hookers)
The seasonal potato pickers who migrated from the northwest of Ireland to Scotland had to endure many privations. 
D 08930


Catacomb Country
A look at the conflict situation with which the Catholic Church in the Philippine islands is involved. On the one hand there is the Muslim-Christian tension and on the wider scale the harassment and torture of Church personnel by government-backed military police.
D 11080 FGN

The Lungs of Asia.
The destruction of the world's rain forests is an issue of political, cultural and even religious importance. But does anybody really care enough?

D 11180 FGN

Niall O'Brien - Return to the Philippines.
The trial of Fr. Niall O'Brien and the Negro Nine for the murder of the Mayor of Kabakalan, made international headlines and captured the attention of Irish people for several months in 1984. Acquitted, but forced to leave the Philippines at the time, Niall was allowed to return earlier this year, and the Radharc team went along to record the event.
D 11079

Central and South America and the Caribbean

Adios to Zapata.
Problems faced by foreign missionaries in Mexico where priests come as "social workers" and just as long as they don't cross any local or national government authorities, nobody seems to worry too much about the law.

D 11294 FGN

The Black Irish.
The Island of Montserrat in the West Indies was colonized by the Irish in the early 17th century. The film tells the story of this colonization and shows how the natives have inherited many of the distinctive features of their Irish forefathers. There are Fogartys, Sweeneys, Dalys, and many other Irish names, living in places called Galway, Kinsale, Cork and Dublin."Boxer".
West Indies.
D 03207

The Gaucho Irish.
Most of the emigrants to Argentina from Ireland in the last century were natives of Wexford or Meath. When they came to Buenos Aires, the influential chaplain to the Irish community encouraged them to get out of Buenos Aires and get into land up country.
D 10070

A Matter of Life and Debt.
"For every pound we give the Third World, they give us back three". The West exploited the rest of the world by colonisation in the past, and continues to do so today through the dealings of the multinationals and world banks. Massive foreign loans have to be repaid by underdeveloped countries at the expense of basic human needs. The first world is not giving the Third World a chance to develop - and that may ultimately be the undoing of us all.

D 11177

Where the Pope is a Communist and the Bishop a Guerilla.
So many people, catechists and priests were killed in the diocese of Quiche, Guatemala, in protest the bishop and remaining priests left the diocese - surely the first time this has ever happened in a supposedly Christian state. About one million Guatemalans have been dislodged from their homes, 15,000 forced to flee into exile and perhaps 35,000 killed in the past few years (1984). Yet little has been seen and heard of this civil war - simply because cameras can rarely get near enough to record it. Radharc slipped in and out secretly with material for this film.
D 10462

Who is for Liberation?
The social, political and religious background to the continuing violence in El Salvador. The wealthy landowners have begun to worry seriously about the survival of the status quo, mainly because of the change of heart in the catholic church. This film includes one of the last interviews given by Archbishop Romero of San Salvador before his assassination in March 1980.
El Salvador; Archbishop Romero; Liberation Theology.

D 10034