"Ar son an Naisiuin": The National Film Institute of Ireland's All-Ireland Films
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Crosson, S. (2013). “Ar son an Náisiúin”: The National Film Institute of Ireland’s All-Ireland Films. Éire-Ireland 48(1), 191-210.
On 4 September 1948 the Irish Independent newspaper carried a small announcement on page ten indicating that the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) had authorized the filming of the All-Ireland hurling and football finals of that year. These finals were to be filmed by the National Film Institute (NFI) of Ireland, set up three years earlier, and this announcement marked the beginning of the first sustained period of indigenous filming of Gaelic games in Ireland. Although important research has been done on the crucial link between the codification and popularization of Gaelic games in Ireland and the development of Irish nationalism in the late nineteenth century, the role that filmic representations of sport may have played in this developing process in the twentieth century has as yet been the subject of limited investigation. This article builds on previous research about the representation of Gaelic games in early newsreels between 1920 and 1939 in order to consider the filmic depictions of All-Ireland finals produced by the NFI and their role, particularly in the 1940s and 1950s, in representing and affirming the Irish nation through sport. These films also offer fascinating insights into Irish society in the postwar period, while sharing intriguing links with one of the most accomplished (and controversial) sports films ever made, Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia (1938).