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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Treasure trove of 1916 footage goes online

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 23/04/2014 | 02:30

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A still from the Pathe film on the 1916 Easter Rising

HIGH-quality film footage of the 1916 Rising in Dublin has been released on to the internet for the first time.

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The British Pathe organisation, which provided news reel reports to cinema audiences before the advent of television, has a treasure trove of film footage of a huge number of historic events from the beginning of the last century.

The company has put its entire archive of 3,500 hours on to the YouTube website, which makes up an incredible 85,000 short films.

Silent newsreels showed some of the events and a great deal of the destruction of central Dublin at the time of the 1916 Rising.

British soldiers are shown getting tea and food from women on the streets of Dublin. The gutted shell of the General Post Office (GPO) on O'Connell Street and the badly damaged Liberty Hall building appear in the silent films.

Other events in the State's early days include film from The War of Independence and the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.

Pathe's films, so generously uploaded on to the web, cover events stretching from 1896 to 1976, including both world wars.

The UK government gave Pathe funds some years ago to digitise its entire archive.

A British Pathe spokesman said the tens of thousands of hours of films covering an 80-year period was a "priceless treasure" of unrivalled historical and cultural significance.

The incredible archives can be accessed at youtube.com/user/ britishpathe.

Irish Independent

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