The Irish Film Institute has discovered that a long-used news photo is not a documentation of a 1920 event, but actually a still from a 1926 war film.
The Irish Independent reported May 29 that the film institute learned the photo is a still from “Irish Destiny,” when it was restoring Ireland’s film archives. The 1926 drama was the first movie set in Ireland about that war, IrishCentral reported.
The photo was thought to have pictured “British intelligence officer Lt. Gilbert Arthur Price engaging the IRA seconds before he was killed in a gun battle with republicans on Dublin’s Talbot Street on October 14, 1920.”
But, it’s really actor Paddy Dunne Cullinan acting out the scene in “Irish Destiny.”
The picture had been reported to have been taken by a 15-year-old apprentice photographer named John J. Horgan. The Irish Independent reported that Horgan ended up becoming the Irish Independent’s chief photographer.
The Irish Independent reported that Tommy Graham, editor of the bimonthly magazine ‘History Ireland.” “believes the mix-up occurred due to a newspaper article which featured a series of pictures from the War of Independence.”
The photo has been used in Dan Breen’s 1973 book “My Fight for Irish Freedom” and on the cover of Peter Cottrell’s 2009 book “The War for Ireland: 1913-1923.” IrishCentral reported that the photo “has been widely used in history books for close to ninety years.”
The Irish Independent reported that “A spokesman for Osprey Publishing, which produced ‘The War for Ireland: 1913-1923’, said it was unaware of the real background of the picture it choose for the cover. “It’s a very striking image of the period. That was why we choose it,” he said.
The Irish War of Independence lasted from 1919 to 1921.