Ulster versus Éire (1938) was an American March of Time newsreel exploring the complexities of Irish politics on both sides of the border. It came hot on the heels of an earlier film made by the same company, misleadingly titled Irish Republic (1937). The first film had sparked an attempt by the Northern Ireland government to present a propagandised film about the north in response to what was seen to be a favourable depiction of the south. Remarkably, the two films utilised much of the same footage to present two starkly contrasting narratives of ‘two Irelands’. This fitted into a broader pattern of the newsreels’ partitionist mentality in covering Irish affairs. This paper will explore how north and south were constructed differently, both before and after partition, in the only form of moving image news available to the general public before the widespread advent of television.
Government of Ireland, CNR, EFACIS, DFG