The Gael Linn Collection
Gael Linn was established in 1953 to promote Irish language and culture. Co-founder and first manager, Riobard Mac Góráin, immediately realised the importance of promoting the language through entertainment and popular media. Gael Linn’s initial foray into production was the first regular indigenous cinema newsreel since the Irish Events series of the 1920s.
In 1955 Ernest Blythe, Chairman of Comdhail Naisiunta na Gaelige, lent Gael Linn £100 to produce a short film for cinema and the Amharc Éireann (A View of Ireland) newsreel was born. From 1956 to mid-1957 Amharc Éireann consisted of short single story items that were distributed to cinemas throughout the country on a monthly basis. Their popularity was immediate and by mid-1957 the Rank Film Distributors agreed to supply them to Irish cinemas along with their own newsreel, at which point they became issued on a fortnightly basis. By 1959 the success of this home-grown newsreel resulted in it being produced weekly and it expanded to include 4 separate news stories. The series continued until 1964 when the immediacy of television as a means of relaying news to the Irish population rendered the newsreel obsolete.
Produced by Colm O’Laoghaire, a total of 267 editions of Amharc Éireann were made. Although Gael Linn’s Amharc Éireann production ceased in late 1964 its influence is ongoing. The range of Irish interest subjects covered (from hard news stories to more magazine-like items) provide a vivid window into the development of modern Ireland at a particularly progressive point in its development and provide a first-hand insight into the moral, cultural and economic development of the country throughout the Whittaker and Lemass eras.