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The Father Delany Collection

Father Jack Delany was born in 1906 and died in 1980. He was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish priest in Dublin in the 1930s and 1940s.

In the 1930s Fr Delany was assigned to the north inner city parish which included Gloucester Street (now Seán MacDermott Street), Rutland Street and Gardiner Street. It was an impoverished neighbourhood of densely populated tenements. Father Delany grew up in a middle-class family and had great admiration for residents of the inner-city, particularly admiring their sense of community and resilience in the face of hardship. His parishioners are the subject of many of his films and his films of tenement life provide us with a fascinating glimpse of life in 1930s inner city Dublin. These scenes include children playing in rubble, stall holders, clothes drying on the balconies of flats and residents of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Convent (which housed a Magdalene Laundry).

Father Delany’s niece Irene Devitt, along with her late husband John Devitt, deposited Fr Delany’s film collection with the IFI Irish Film Archive in the 1990s.

Navan Road

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Navan Road, Dublin, 1948: A family gathers outside their home for an impromptu game of tennis. This rare footage depicts how rural this part of the city was before being developed. Father Jack Delany (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish priest in Dublin in the 1930s […]

Dublin Zoo

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Father Delany’s lens captures a school visit to Dublin Zoo. The highlight is a visit to the elephant enclosure where the Zookeeper demonstrates how to mount the elephant like a horse. Father Jack Delany (1906-1980) was ordained in 1930 at the age of 24 and served as a parish priest in Dublin in the 1930s […]