Ireland 1934

Many Americans visiting Ireland for the first time have a stereotypical view of what Ireland is. They expect thatched cottages around every bend, sheep dotting the landscape, dancing at the crossroads, rainbows and leprechauns. Although I have yet to meet a leprechaun I have seen plenty of rainbows and sheep. But – alas – thatched cottages are a dying breed and to find them you must go searching or stumble across them.

In this “Hollywood” film of a bucolic Ireland of 1934 I can read between the lines and see plenty of hard work and poverty. Much as we tend to romanticize old Ireland it was and is a real place where people live and not the Disneyland of our imaginations. Those traveling to Ireland can find remnants of the past everywhere but they should leave their rose-colored glasses at home. Instead they can enjoy Ireland of today with enticing glimpses of Ireland’s storied past.

© 2011 Michele Erdvig

“Ireland Travel Expert”


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Author: Michele Erdvig

Michele has done and seen it all in Ireland. Specializing in Ireland for over 40 years, she is one of the foremost Ireland travel experts in the United States. She writes guidebooks and blogs about Ireland, creates custom Ireland itineraries and dispenses free advice on her Ireland Travel Forum.

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  1. What a gem this film is! Thanks for sharing…such a shame for it to be in black and white but I guess it’s party of it’s old time charm.

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  2. Ireland back then was very much controlled by Catholic thought & doctrine. Up through the early 1940’s, women in rural areas still were forced to endure arranged marriages. They were expected to fit the role of mother and caregiver, and had little to no opportunity to pursue their own dreams. It is great how much more freedom women have now, to pursue their education and career. The social exceptions of 1934 were very rigid for mens’ and womens’ roles.

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  3. I think this is a great article because it’s real and to the point. Ireland is a country full of history and the remnants of the past are everywhere. Drive down small country roads and you’ll find ruins everywhere, old boundary walls around fields and even burial mounds and castles.
    We live with this everyday and its part and parcel of who we are, yet our country and we have changed and for the better. Many, many people left Ireland because of poverty and hunger and although it has been ‘idealised’ it’s not what any of us would want to return to. However, I would like many of the traditions and values to remain.
    Ireland is a great country to visit and live in. Yes we have problems but I would not live anywhere else!
    Ireland is still the country of the little people, we still believe in faeries and mythology and we’re dreamers and long may it continue!

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