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Published on April 20th, 2010 | by bngr


Anniversary of Irish Cinema

Thinking about heading out to the cinema tonight? Well if you do you’ll be repeating what was first done on this island 114th years ago today.  On 20 April 1896 (on Hitler’s 7th birthday) screenings by the famous Lumiere Brothers took place in the Dan Lowry’s Star of Erin Palace of Varieties, aka the Olympia Theatre on Dame Street Dublin, only a few months after the first ever public cinema screenings took place in Paris.

The Lumiere cameramen showed footage from Ireland back then in the Olympia, but take a look at some of the first films by Lumiere to give you an idea what it was like:

In the early years, Irish screening mostly involved newsreels and local footage, including a visit to Ireland by Queen Victoria in 1900.  The first acknowledged Irish film is the UK film set in Ireland from 1907 Irish Wives and English Husbands but the first American film set in Ireland dating from 1910, which was hugely popular in the US, called The Lad From Old Ireland, you can watch here:

There’s some interesting summaries of the history of Irish cinema available on line by Arthur Flynn and Harvey O’Brien if you want to read a bit more.


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2 Responses to Anniversary of Irish Cinema

  1. Hugo Fitzpatrick says:

    Wow! Although for the most part Irish cinema hasn’t done much until recent years, and even then that’s not saying much. It’s great to think that Britain’s 3rd city was one of the first in the world to receive the wondrous gift of the Lumiere’s first reel’s.

  2. Bngr says:

    I know, makes us sound quite fashionable back in the day.

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