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Irish Film Censors' Records 1923-1938

Under the Censorship of Films Act, 1923, no film can be shown in public in Ireland without having been passed by the Official Film Censor. The act denies a censorship certificate to a film for public exhibition if it is deemed to be indecent, obscene or blasphenous, or is contrary to public morality. Under this régime, more than 2,500 films were banned and over 11,000 films were cut by film censors between the 1920s and the 1980s.

In 1998, over 100 volumes of the hand-written records of Irish film censors from 1923 to the 1980s were deposited at the National Archives of Ireland. These records provide a unique insight into Irish social and cultural attitudes in the twentieth century. For example, imported films were routinely banned or cut if they represented themes deemed contrary to Irish secular and Catholic laws, such as divorce or extra marital affairs.

Over 6,000 of these records were transcribed covering the period 1923-38. All the records from the censors' ledgers for the period 1923-January 1930 are included here, while details of all films registered from 1930 to 1938 are also on the website. The data collected covers most of the period in office of the first film censor, James Montgomery.

These records can be contextualised by consulting the award-winning Irish film censorship: a cultural journey from silent cinema to internet pornography by Kevin Rockett with Emer Rockett (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004).

Principal Investigator/ Website Editor: Professor Kevin Rockett, School of Creative Arts, Trinity College Dublin.
Sponsor: Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.