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Back To Greystones’ Future

What a truly remarkable hour of footage.

Home movies of Greystones in the 1950s – and maybe even bleeding into the early 1960s – capturing forever so many familiar local landmarks, some now sadly fallen, many, thankfully, still standing.

And all thanks, it would seem, to Greystones’ own Crilly With A Camera, Fr Fennelly.

This is the generation before ours, in all their prime, and, in many cases, their Sunday best. At weddings, communions, horse trials, sunny holidays, Pythonesque football matches (towards the end; surreal stuff) or just out playing golf. Truly vintage cars spin down by the seafront, crowds gather for a boat race, kids enjoy the rare treat of having a snowball fight at the harbour, and, hey, there’s yet another religious progression through the town.

This was a time, let’s not forget, when having a camera pointed at you was as rare as an Elvis sighting today. Hence the great, big happy smiles and the frantic waving. In truth, these people are waving to us from our town’s recent past, these ancestors full of hopes and dreams, and sweets and porter, all happily walking the same streets we walk today. These are our ghosts in the machine.

All captured by parish priest Fr Fennelly, as I said, whose main directing skill would appear to be shouting, “Now, walk towards the camera, and be quick about it!”.
The result is a wondrous, random collection of Super 8 moments that unwittingly reveal so much about the town and its people way back when. We’re lucky to have our ancestors preserved forever, just living their everyday lives, smiling and waving, and looking so fine.

The church still had a firm hold on Ireland back then, and the class divide was as plain as the monocole on your average Burnaby resident’s face. What’s most rewarding to discover here is the fact that Greystones had a wicked sense of humour even back then, as the mock Lovely Ladies gathering in the Eire Óg grounds for a Mad Hatter’s Football Match proves.

There was no sound, other than a maddening camera hum, so, we’ve added some random ambient sounds here. Hopefully the tracks will act as a musical calm that pulls all this wonderful, magical, inspirational crazy together.

Thanks to the beautiful Telford for dropping this footage off at the Happy Pear for me. Once we find out the why, what, where and when of it all, we’ll let you know. At one point, a notice of Fr. Fennelly Collection pops up on the screen, explaining that this is part of the Irish Film Archive. Not sure if that’s the one source for all the footage, but, for having the foresight to record time in a bottle for us, Greystones thanks you, young Fennelly, wherever you ended up.

If you’re looking for more flicks kicks, we’ve gota clever video contrasting Greystones then with now by local filmmaker Jake McKone right here, along with some incredible Pathe News footage right about here.

If you recognise people, or events, or places here, just leave a comment below, and we’ll add a more comprehensive explanation of what’s in the footage here. Given a little time, we should be able to figure out every little piece of this fascinating jigsaw…


  1. Hilary Doyle says:

    More priests and nuns than you could shake a stick at (but enough about my hobby). Wonderful footage.

  2. Shamrock says:

    I see my mothers uncle jimmy Redmond at the GREYSTONES rowing club annual regatta. Which is still ran every year

  3. Shamrock says:

    Around 44 minute he is standing there with the crew who were rowing. Will try find out rest of men’s names

  4. Kerensa says:

    How lovely, love the way people are posing for photos ?

  5. Jacqui says:


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