This film is part of Free

Form Party in the Copelands

A breeding ground for birds is taken over by picnicking children in this delightful home movie of the Copeland Islands.

Home movie 1955 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


What’s your perfect day out? Hop aboard a boat to the Copeland Islands and have a picnic under the blue skies on this glorious sunny day. This home movie from Jane McCann takes us on an exciting journey to the islands favoured by smugglers and scientists. Beautiful scenery and shy smiles at the camera makes this film a pleasant watch. On the way back, a glimpse of the lighthouse let us know we are arriving in Donaghadee harbour.

Until the 20th century hidden coves of the islands were popular with smugglers to traffic spirits and tobacco into Northern Ireland. In 1801 a ship was wrecked off Mew Island. The rumour has it that instead of trying to save themselves straight away, the crew attacked a container with axes in a futile attempt to reach the proceeds of the slave trade. Having drowned this sunken treasure remained lost until the crew of a boat undergoing a refit in Anglesea revealed it. In the years that followed, adventurers in boats arrived in search of treasure but were chased away. Later local treasure hunters used a diving suit and 80,000 dollars are said to have been found in total. No-one knows where all those dollars are now.