Wednesday 15 August 2018

Reeling through the years in Wexford

Wexford Arts Centre hosts special 'Down Wexford Way' screening of archive film footage

Clips include the visit by John F Kennedy in June 1963
Clips include the visit by John F Kennedy in June 1963
Clips include the visit by John F Kennedy in June 1963

Esther Hayden

There will be a trip down memory lane later this month as archived film footage is shown in the Wexford Arts Centre.

The film clips entitled 'Down Wexford Way' are part of the Irish Film Institute's national film programme Local Films for Local People and feature clips which were preserved by the IFI Irish Film Archive.

The initiative which is now in its fifth years kicks off in Wexford on Tuesday, May 15, at 8 p.m in the Arts Centre. The earliest film in this collection dates from 1902 when film pioneers Mitchell and Kenyon filmed in Wexford town and shows the Railway Station in Wexford town. The duo also filmed various shots of life in Wexford in 1902 which will also be shown.

The film will also include a series of silent advertisements advertising Wexford businesses which were produced in the 1930s and 1940s. The ads were screened in the Capital Cinema, Main Street, Wexford which operated from 1931 to about 1984. In 1999 the original films on fragile and unstable nitrate stock were deposited by Nick Hayes for preservation in the IFI Irish Film Archive.

A British newsreel from in July 1938 showing commemorations in Enniscorthy marking the 140th anniversary of The Battle of Vinegar Hill will also be shown. This footage was deposited in the IFI Irish Film Archive by Tom Doyle, son of the late Andy Doyle and grandson of Tom Doyle, owners of the Astor Cinema, Enniscorthy.

New Ross in 1947 will also be showcased. This rarely seen silent footage was produced by Hibernia Pictures and deposited in the IFI Irish Film Archive by Noel Fitzgerald of New Ross. Clips from 1954 showing science and the farmer which was produced by the National Film Institute will also be shown.

Some films by Father Norbert Holland, a talented amateur film enthusiast who made a series of films in Wexford and further afield on his summer visits home from abroad in the 1950s and 1960s. This film collection was deposited in the IFI Irish Film Archive by Billy Colfer on behalf of Margaret-Ann Barry, a friend of Fr Holland. These feature stories from the Amharc Éireann newsreels including a Fleadh Ceoil in Gorey in 1962; the visit of General 'Ike' Eisenhower in 1962; and a surprise win for Wexford in the 1960 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

Other clips include New Ross ploughing in 1960, storm damage in 1963 and the visit by John F Kennedy in June 1963.

Tickets are available from the Wexford Arts Centre website,, by phone on (053) 912 3764 or by email at

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