Back row (from left) Cllr Ger Darcy (Cathaoirleach, Tipperary County Council), Rev Keith Barry, (Church of Ireland Rector), Fr Francis (Toomevara PP), Ambassador, Akhiilesh Mishra; Fr Rexon (Nenagh Parish), Joe MacGrath, (Chief Executive, Tipperary County Council), Cllr John ‘Rocky’ McGrath, (Cathaoirleach, Nenagh MD),Front row (from left) Isolde Moylan, (Exhibition Curator), Mary Gallagher (Exhibition Curator), Mrs Reeti Mishra, Deirdre Wolahan (Exhibition Curator) Nora O’Meara (Genealogy Centre).

An adventurer, a newsman, a film-maker and a Tipp man!

The Ambassador of India to Ireland was on hand to officially open a remarkable exhibition on the life of William Moylan

There was an international feel to proceedings as the Ambassador of India to Ireland was on hand to officially open the William Moylan Exhibition at Nenagh Heritage Centre.

Nora O’Meara, Genealogist with the Genealogy Centre, warmly welcomed everyone to the recent event, which celebrated the remarkable life, adventures and achievements of William Moylan, a Tipperary newsman, film-maker and adventurer in India and Pakistan from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Having survived the Somme and other battles in WWI, William, or Bill as he was known, spent most of the next 30 years in India. Newspaper journalism led him eventually to the thriving Indian film industry where he served as director of feature films and documentaries as well as manager of large film studios. In the 1950s, he worked in Pakistan on the development of that country’s film industry before returning to Ireland, where he spent the last six years of his life, sadly passing away, aged just 67.


In her introductory speech, Genealogist Nora, commented: “I find it amazing and intriguing when I think of rural Ireland 125 years ago – and then imagine this young adventurous chap, Bill Moylan, and what he went on to accomplish. Despite all his years abroad he relished his identity and remained a proud Tipperary man!”

Bill was born in 1898 and the family lived in the townland of Killanafinch.

Nora explained that Killanafinch townland lies within two parishes – part in Latteragh civil parish which is Templederry RC parish and part in Kilkeary civil parish which is in Toomevara RC parish – but she added: “tonight we are claiming Bill Moylan as a Toomevara man!”

Bill’s father was a Land Steward on the Carden Estate in Fismoyne, Borrisoleigh. His mother was Bridget Ryan from Sallypark, down the road from Killanafinch, and her family owned the pub at Latteragh Cross locally known as Seaneens.

In January 1915, Bill ran away from home to enlist in WWI and joined the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner. While in action, he was wounded at the Battle of the Somme and later gassed in the Battle of Ypres.


Bill was inspired to become a journalist by a war correspondent he had met and joined the (British) Indian Army as a way of getting to India. He worked for a newspaper but his interest in film-making grew and soon began making short documentaries. Bill quickly progressed and was appointed General Manager of East India Films (EIF), where he helped produce over 40 feature films including the first Indian ‘talkie’ – ‘Seeta’ – which won a major international award at the Venice Film Festival in 1934.

As commercial film-making ceased due to WWII, Bill began making freelance war-related information films before he was chosen by the government to lead an official wartime newsreel service.

After meeting his family in Tipperary on a trip home, Bill joined his uncle Jack Ryan in Dublin, where he fell in love with Ita Cornwall. In 1949, he accepted a job in the film industry and married Ita in August of that same year and the family would later grow with daughters Isolde and Deirdre and son John.


In 1952, Bill accepted a Films Adviser role to the Government of Pakistan and he travelled extensively around the country with his film trainees capturing all aspects of life in Pakistan. Ita become involved in the filming team’s activities and together, they made over 50 short films.


By 1960 the family moved to Ireland settling in Bray where the couple set up a film production company. In 1963, Bill filmed President John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland for US TV channel ABC and also made road-safety films along with some TV commercials.

Bill fell ill during a family holiday in the summer of 1965 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he died in January 1966.


The Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Ger Darcy, was delighted to attend the opening of the exhibition. In his speech he commented: “We have a large Indian community here in Nenagh, who are a huge asset to our locality – in terms of our economy, culture, sports and our religious ministry. I would like to compliment the Moylan family, for putting together such an exhibition.”

Genealogist Nora O’Meara thanked all the staff of the Genealogy Centre and Nenagh Heritage Centre – including Geraldine, Ger, Amanda for their assistance and especially to Libby Grey for her huge input into organising this wonderful event.

Also in attendance was Dr Jane Maxwell, Manuscript Curator, Trinity College Dublin, who spoke of the importance of people keeping all the stories about their families and while we think they are insignificant there is a huge amount of information contained in them. She thanked the Moylans, who donated memorabilia related to their father to Trinity College.

The Ambassador of India to Ireland, His Excellency, Akhilesh Mishra, officially launched the exhibition and thanked everyone for being there for the opening. He also praised the people of Nenagh for their kind hospitality. He added that Isolde and Deirdre Moylan and Mary Gallagher were personal friends of the ambassador and his wife, Reeti.


Prior to the exhibition launch, Ambassador Mishra and his wife visited the Tipperary County Council offices where they met the CEO and several councillors. They also visited Nenagh Arts Centre where some of the local Indian community children performed an Indian dance while some young Irish dancers of the Callanan MacLoone O'Meara Academy of Irish Dance performed some Irish dancing for the visitors.

Then on Friday morning Nora O’Meara and Libby Grey took the ambassador and his wife to the County Markets which they just loved.

They also enjoyed a tour of Nenagh's attractions including the heritage centre and old gaol, the genealogy centre, Nenagh Castle, the tourist office and also got to sample some local cheese and coffee at Peter and Mary Ward's delicatessen.


The exhibition was the brainchild of Bill’s son, John, but he sadly passed away in 2022. The baton was then taken up by daughters, Isolde and Deirdre and Mary (John’s wife). In her speech, Isolde Moylan, spoke warmly of meeting with Mary Guinan at Tipperary Studies and later with Nora O’Meara in Nenagh, who was pivotal in developing the dream of an exhibition into reality. Isolde also outlined how blessed the family were to have such a loving father. Nenagh Heritage Centre will host this fascinating exhibition until the end of August while Isolde will give a lecture on William Moylan later in June.