Thursday, 2 April 2015

RTÉ Road to the Rising

Using rare colour footage, a new exhibition from RTÉ Archives will look at the commemorative events of Easter 1966 from a unique perspective.

Part of RTÉ Road to the Rising, RTÉ Archives The Golden Jubilee of 1916 in Colour, will provide an online record of 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. As a result, RTÉ produced and archived rare colour footage of events across Ireland during that poignant week in Easter 1966, when the country reflected on a revolution that for many was still in living memory. Preserved and now available online, the footage can be viewed at

Also included in the RTÉ Archives exhibition is a special project undertaken in the early 1960’s to capture in-depth interviews with survivors of the Rising, and members of the IRB and Irish Volunteers. Five of these powerful programmes, that were never broadcast, include interviews with Desmond Ryan, Cathal O’Shannon, Sean Nunan, Earnán de Blaghd and Denis McCullough, are now available online[i].

They Remember 1916 is a series of personal memories of individuals who took part in the fighting. First broadcast in 1956 on Radio Éireannn, a collection of seven programmes from those who were part of the revolution is now available and accessible to all via

“We are continually working to open up more of RTÉ’s Archives to the public,” says Brid Dooley, Head of RTÉ Archives. “Currently we have in excess of 40 exhibitions available online, and content from RTÉ Archives is published daily on our website. In the lead up to the 100th anniversary of Easter Rising, as part of RTÉ Road to the Rising, RTÉ Archives plans to make more recorded testimonies from those involved in the events of 1916 available. RTÉ recorded interviews with survivors will help us better understand the events of Easter Week 1916, almost 100 years ago."

Ten RTÉ Archive Screenings at RTÉ Road to the Rising Event.

As part of the free family event, RTÉ Road to the Rising, which will be held on Bank Holiday Monday, 6th April 2015 in Dublin, 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.. As part of RTÉ Road to the Rising, a special screening has been organised at Liberty Hall from 12:00 pm 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. 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. Produced by Aindreas Ó Gallchói, the series was 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