In May, just days after the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, The Queen will be paying a visit to Ireland, astonishingly the first reigning monarch to do so in one hundred years.
The last time someone on the throne popped across the Irish Sea was George V (or as one Guardian journalist put it – “That bearded fellow who shouts at Colin Firth in the King’s Speech”) and his wife Mary. British Pathé has the video of course in their free online archive:
Simply titled George V and Queen Mary, the canister notes suggest there was nothing particularly extraordinary about this being a visit to Ireland. In 1911 the whole of Ireland was still part of Great Britain. It’s a fun video, The Duke of York is there, as are other officials from London, as the King and Queen greet people, including an “ancient man wearing plumed hat who shakes the King’s hand vigorously for a long time!”
Going back further we were thrilled to find another British monarch visiting Ireland on film, none other than Queen Victoria in Dublin, on the 4th of April 1900. Only nine months before her death, the video shows a lengthy and very Victorian procession that climaxes with the Queen pulling up in her carriage to meet some important folk, before speeding off again.
The British Pathé archive is popular in Ireland as we have so much footage of Irish history. Recently the Irish Independent wrote an article on our election footage, notably our De Valera clips. Other popular Irish reels include this one of a gun-running funeral procession way back in 1910, and this famous reel entitled ‘Irish Revolution’ in 1922.
Then’s there the JFK workspace, the American President that Ireland treated as one of their own. And finally, I quite like this old barmy reel of some men going for a brisk winter swim on Christmas Day in 1933!