IFI Irish Film Archive Story Box 2016


 Horgan Brothers Collection and the IFI Player

The Horgan Brothers’ films (1910- 1920) are some of the earliest moving images made in Ireland. Brothers George, James and Thomas Horgan began their careers in the late 19th century in Youghal, Co. Cork as shoemakers and photographers. They ran magic lantern shows in Youghal and in the surrounding villages and townlands. From 1900, following the success of their photographic studio and magic lantern shows, James Horgan began to use a motion picture camera to capture current events and their local community.

In 1917 the brothers opened the purpose-built 600-seat cinema The Horgan Picture Theatre in Youghal, where they screened The Youghal Gazette – their local topical newsreel featuring events of local interest – along with contemporary international feature films. This practice was not uncommon among early cinema owners – who would frequently film events (such as fairs and processions) which were well-attended by locals thereby guaranteeing a full house of people keen to see themselves on the big screen.

The Horgans experimented with photography and models and the collection at the Irish Film Archive includes the earliest surviving Irish animation which dates from about 1910. It features the Youghal Town Hall Clock standing on its head and pirouetting in place.

This collection was donated to the IFI Irish Film Archive by Jim Horgan, who is the grandson of James Horgan. Soon after acquisition, the nitrate rolls were transferred to modern safety stock. Although most of the reels had suffered the ravages of time and all were incomplete – enough had survived to provide an invaluable moving image record of what appeared on screen a century ago in a rural Irish cinema.

Some of the films from the Horgan Brothers Collection at now freely available to view around the globe on the recently launched IFI Player. The IFI Player is a virtual viewing room for the remarkable collections held at the Irish Film Archive. The material on the IFI Player has been selected to give audiences a taste of the breadth and depth of the collections preserved by the Archive. Home movies, newsreels, travelogues, animations, feature films, public information films and documentaries have been included as we have tried to reflect all aspects of indigenous amateur and professional production.

Every month we will be adding more great newsreels, travelogues, animations, feature films and more from the IFI Irish Film Archive onto the IFI Player. This virtual viewing room is a document of Ireland’s heritage and we want to find out more about the stories behind the films that we preserve in our vaults in Temple Bar. Spot yourself or someone you know in one of the films on the IFI Player? Let us know and tell us your story. Curious to learn more about a certain film? Ask us. Please feel free to get in touch with us and let us know what you think of the IFI Player. If you would like to get in contact with us please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We would love to hear from you.
                                                         IFI Player Logo    Inside of Horgan’s Picture Theatre, Youghal, County Cork   A1124.jpg: Horgan’s Picture Theatre, Youghal, County Cork  
                                                                                                  A1129.jpg James Horgan with his son Joseph and a magic lantern  Horgan Brothers_Youghal Clock Tower

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