This film is part of Free


Casting one eye on history and the other towards the future, Father Michael Collins examines the changing lives of his parishioners.

Documentary 1960

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


Ballinascreen is a pragmatic study of changing ways of life in a Catholic parish. Terence Mc Donald’s camera is drawn to the faces of a community in action in agriculture, industry and at play. He invites you to all manner of social gatherings from barefoot pilgrimages to competitive tractor driving. Disappearing skills are revived by new generations competing with their elders. Then after a musical interlude from the Seamus Kerrigan Dance School we meet a young John Hume.

Born in 1936 Fr Michael Collins was ordained in Rome in 1960 and went on to spend fifty years working in the Diocese of Derry. He could be often heard on BBC Radio Ulster’s Thought for the Day programme, contributing over 100 pieces. His passion for capturing parish life on film was mirrored in his love of photography, and his book of archive photographs, Travellers in Time and Eternity was published in 2013. This film features photography by Terence McDonald (1926 – 2001) a teacher, film historian, film collector and a pioneering amateur filmmaker from Derry. He made 35 films in his lifetime covering a wide range of themes such as mental health, travelling theatre, and portraits of his home town, Derry.