Archive shows glimpse of rural life

The British Film Institute has released over 750 films which give a glimpse into life between 1900 and 1999 as part of its Rural Life project.

The films form part of the BFI’s Britain on Film project, which reveals hidden histories from across Great Britain, including Northern Ireland, from the UK’s key film and TV archives.

The archive films will be available for free on BFI Player, and will also be visiting over 125 locations around the country for special screenings and events.

There is a wealth of footage on Northern Ireland’s people and landscapes which give a rich historical insight into the way we lived, from colourful films about life on a farm and old trades and crafts to leisure pursuits and travelogues aimed at potential tourists.

Many films were made by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (now Tourism NI) at a challenging time for the industry in the 70s and 80s.

Films including Song of Ulster and The Quiet Land portray sheepdog trials in the Glens of Antrim, and a young Gloria Hunniford entertaining guests in the Slieve Donard Hotel. There is also Ballyclare filmmaker Archie Reid’s footage of the 1960 May Fair and lambs frolicking in Larne.