Monday 23 October 2017

Rare RTÉ footage from 1966 fifty-year commemoration of 1916 Rising available to view online

RTE Galway 1966
RTE Galway 1966
RTE Dublin, closing ceremony 1966
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

As part of RTÉ's Road to the Rising event this weekend, rare colour footage of the commemorative events of Easter 1966 are available to view online.

Part of RTÉ Road to the Rising, 

RTÉ Archives The Golden Jubilee of 1916 in Colour includes 14 remarkable films that chart the events of Easter week 1966, fifty years after the Rising.

The events were captured by RTÉ in the biggest outside broadcast operation since the visit of President Kennedy in 1963. 

Television producer Michael Johnston spearheaded the drive to document the week’s activities in colour, at a time when nearly all television output was black and white. 

Preserved and now available online, the footage can be viewed at

Also included in the RTÉ Archives exhibition is a project undertaken in the early 1960s to capture in-depth interviews with survivors of the Rising, and members of the IRB and Irish Volunteers.

Five of these programmes, which were never broadcast, include interviews with Desmond Ryan, Cathal O’Shannon, Sean Nunan, Earnán de Blaghd and Denis McCullough.

These are also now available online here:

Another project, They Remember 1916, is a series of personal memories of individuals who took part in the fighting. First broadcast in 1956 on Radio Éireannn, it's a collection of seven programmes from those who were part of the revolution.

There are also 10 RTÉ Archive Screenings at RTÉ Road to the Rising Event this Monday, April 6.

Liam Wylie Curator of RTÉ Archives, will present an illustrated talk at Liberty Hall Dublin, on Easter Monday at 3.00pm.

The RTÉ drama series, Insurrection, fully restored by the RTÉ Archives, is an eight part drama broadcast by RTÉ in 1966 and a special screening has been organised at Liberty Hall from 12pm on Monday April 6th.  Tickets available at the door, and all proceeds will go to charity.

On behalf of the Provisional Government - P.H. Pearse will also be screened at Liberty Hall.  It's a digitally re-mastered portrait of Patrick Pearse created from the recollections of some of those who knew him, including Margaret Pearse, Seán T O’Ceallaigh, Desmond Ryan and Kathleen Clarke.  Narrated by Niall Tóibín it was first broadcast during Easter Week 1966.

A Sovereign people – the story of the Irish revolution is also being shown as part of the event. The period that followed the death of Parnell was turbulent as intellectual, cultural, political and military activity reached fever pitch. This documentary, produced and directed by Sean Ó Mordha, explores the road to the Easter Rising and the Independent State that emerged in 1922.

Liam Wylie’s blog about the online exhibition is available here

Full details on RTÉ Road to the Rising’ are available at

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