Never before seen archive footage released in colour for the first time shows De Valera, Michael Collins and Ireland's struggle for indepedence

Never before seen archive footage released in colour for the first time shows De Valera, Michael Collins and Ireland's struggle for indepedence

IT HAS been more than 80 years in the making but now a feature-length documentary charting the entire course of Irish independence from Home Rule to Civil War has been released.

Revolution in Colour is the work of newsreel archive and factual creator British Pathé.

The project had originally been quashed by the Irish Government when it was first attempted in 1935 - British Pathé’s film reels were even confiscated, as revealed last week by The Sunday Times.

The documentary is the result of a major collaboration between British Pathé and Zampano Productions, the producers of Seven Women, TK Whitaker – Seirbhíseach an Stáit and The People’s Tenor.

67-molly-mary-spring-rice-n Molly Childers and Mary Spring-Rice on Erskine Childers's yacht the Asgard

It makes use of duplicates of the lost film reels, which British Pathé had saved for posterity.

In telling the story at last, the producers have done something which the Irish Government of 1935 could never have imagined.

Scroll down to see the amazing video footage in colour...

The BAFTA-nominated team behind WW2 in HD Colour has painstakingly colourised the original footage so that the events of that tumultuous period can be seen, for the first time, as they were witnessed by those who lived through them – in full colour.

“When you watch black and white, you are detached from the personalities and the history,” says director Martin Dwan. “There is something about colour that triggers empathy with people.”

Viewers can see such personalities as Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins and Lloyd George; such critical events as the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the funeral of revered IRB leader O’Donovan Rossa; and such dramatic scenes as the destruction of Limerick.

Guerrilla warfare in the countryside, the fighting in the streets and British reprisals are all featured in original footage, along with rarely-seen footage of pre-independence Ireland – all in full colour.

Revolution in Colour is also the flagship programme of the new online on-demand channel, British Pathé TV.

General Manager of British Pathé, Alastair White, explains: “The archive looks amazing in colour and this programme fits in perfectly with our aim at British Pathé TV, which is to offer a wide range of programming that provides a genuine alternative to mainstream television and tailors to specialist interests.”

99-eamon-de-valera-in-ennis-n Eamon De Valera in Ennis

The 90-minute film is written by respected Trinity College Dublin historian Eunan O’Halpin and is narrated by Allen Leech, known for his work as Tom Branson in the hit TV series Downton Abbey and as the Soviet double-agent John Cairncross in the Oscar-winning The Imitation Game.

Watch the trailer for Revolution in Colour here...