The Radharc documentary film archive contains 425 films made in 75 countries. From 1962 to 1979 a total of 145 films or one third of the collection were made in 25 different countries across the world.
In the period from 1980 to 1996 the remaining 280 films were made, again in countries all over the world. So in this period of 16 years a further 50 countries were added to this list. This period was more prolific than the first 17 years. Approximately 1 complete programme was made and ready for transmission every three weeks. Some achievement for a small independent film company! It was done by the employment of lay men and women with experience in reporting and film making and with the help of a number of missionary congregations whose priests and nuns prepared the ground, located the important people to interview and arranged meetings in advance for the team.
Many notable documentaries were made during this period. Films such as ‘When Ireland Starved’ – a film in four parts about the great Irish Famine of the 1840’s, ‘Who is for Liberation’ dealing with Liberation Theology and featuring Archbishop, now Blessed Oscar Romero. ‘Grosse Isle – Gateway and Graveyard’ made in Newfoundland, where up to 10,000 Irish men and women who died from famine and disease on the perilous journey across the Atlantic are now buried. Another significant group of 5 films were those made in 1987 in the Holy Land introduced by Richard Crowley, now of RTE.
As well as political and social subjects the Radharc team also became noted for historical documentaries, especially the series of 17 films researched and directed by Fr. Liam Swords a history scholar and one time rector of the Irish College in Rome. Films such as ‘Michael O’Cleary and the Annals of the Four Masters’ and ‘The Story of the Celtic Monasteries’ both introduced by Cyril Cusack are included in this series.
Thus the subject matter of Radharc Films was always an interesting mixture of themes keeping audiences informed about matters in the worlds of Faith, Spirituality, History and Heritage in Ireland and around the world.