Gloucester Street

Amateur, Irish Culture, Children on Film
Directed by:
Father Jack Delany
Produced by:
Father Jack Delany


7 mins

Gloucester Street (which became Seán McDermott Street in 1933) is alive with activity: children play and grapple for the camera’s attention; teachers play school yard games with students and women reluctantly pose for camera. Moments in time are captured in a heavily-populated, inner-city Dublin neighbourhood. The tenement dwellings here were later demolished after Dublin Corporation purchased them in 1941.

An early rooftop scene shows the façade of Rutland Street National School in the distance. The schoolyard scenes show the boys and girls of Rutland Street National school at play with their teachers.  Thirty years later, in the 1960s, the voices of the Rutland Street school children were recorded by their teacher Peg Cunningham. These recordings inspired and provide the sound track for Brown Bag’s Give Up Your Aul Sins.

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 and 1940s. He served mainly around Seán McDermott Street (then Gloucester Street), Rutland Street and Gardiner Street. His films offer a fascinating glimpse of life at the time in inner-city Dublin and include scenes of trips with parishioners, tenement life, school children at play, religious processions, and residents of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Convent (which housed a Magdalene Laundry).

To see more of The Father Delany Collection, click here.

This film is also part of Children on Film. To see more from the collection, click here.

With kind permission of Irene Devitt.

IFI recommendation: 6+