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oct 18/19, 2013
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Cinegael Buffalo 2013: Hidden Ireland: A Celebration of Ireland in Documentary Film, 1927-2012

Burchfield Penney Art Center
1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY
October 18–19, 2013

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11:00 am - Program 1

Ireland: The Tear and the Smile (USA)
1959, b&w, 50 minutes

Hosted by the legendary anchorman Walter Cronkite, Ireland: The Tear and the Smile presents a social, political, and economic overview of Ireland in the late 1950s. Describing an Ireland that is “convivial and garrulous…half truth, half myth,” the film examines how close the traditional American image of Ireland is to the reality. The film features interviews with leading thinkers, writers, and policy makers – including Sean O’Faolain, Brendan Behan, and Eamon de Valera – and a series of arresting sequences showing Irish rural and urban life.
Directed by Willard Van Dyke for CBS

1:00 pm - Program 2

The Village (USA)
1967, b&w, 70 minutes

Made by UCLA’s Ethnographic Film Program, this film visits Dunquin in Co. Kerry and examines how modernization has affected the inhabitants of this remote Irish-speaking fishing village in the southernmost part of Ireland. The film explores their connection with the nearby (and since evacuated) Blasket Islands and their relationship with visitors who come to observe them. The film particularly notes how the tourists who come to the village year after year to steep themselves in its old culture don’t understand how their presence only accelerates its disappearance.

The Village records day-to-day life – much of it spent servicing the visitors – with many moments of wry comedy provided by the locals. Among these are the elderly and deaf motorcyclist, the amateur linguist, and innkeeper “Kruger” Kavanagh, who recalls his visits to Broadway and his connection with Randolph Hearst.

Directed by Paul Hockings and Mark McCarty

The Village is in distribution from Documentary Educational Resources (DER).

3:00 pm - Program 3

Hard Road to Klondike (Ireland)
1999, color, 55 minutes

Based on the biography of Mici MacGabhann (1865-1948) of Donegal, titled Rotha Mor an tsaoil (The Big Wheel of Life), this is an account of MacGabhann’s life as a migrant worker and exile in America at the turn of the 20th Century. Mixing actual footage with early fiction films, this colorful and innovative documentary tells the story of Irish emigrant history in a most creative and entertaining manner.
Directed by Desmond Bell

O’Hara’s Holiday (Ireland)
1959, color, 20 minutes

This engaging dramatized documentary part-sponsored by Bord Failte, the Irish Tourist Board, was one of a series of films aimed at the US market which centered on the theme of returning migrants. In homage to Ford’s “The Quiet Man,” we meet O’Hara, a stressed out New York Irish police officer who comes to Ireland to unwind and find his roots. He meets an independent young woman, Kitty, who joins him on his travels to the beauty spots of rural Ireland and the hotspots of Dublin’s nightlife.
Directed by Peter Bryan

Give Up Your Aul Sins (Ireland)
2000 (recordings of Dublin schoolrooms, 1960s), color, 5 minutes
Directed by Cathal Gaffney

7:00 pm - Program 4

Two Short Films by Tony Donoghue (Ireland) with Introduction by Tony Donoghue:

"A Film From My Parish - 6 Farms"
2008, color, 7 minutes;
"Irish Folk Furniture"
2012, color, 9 minutes
Directed by Tony Donoghue

Talk by Tony Donoghue:
“Documentary Filmmaking: Friends and Family”

Tony Donoghue worked as a zoologist at the Natural History Museum in London before becoming a filmmaker. He studied animation at West Surrey College of Art and now researches farm and rural traditions. It is from this research that his film and photography projects originated. His focus is to work with recycled resources to make animated films by locating recycled goods and using mainly natural light to light the sets. Currently he is photographing and studying late 18th- and 19th-century gravestones which will culminate in a guidebook commissioned by the local county Heritage Office. His most recent film, “Irish Folk Furniture”, has won awards around the world, including the 2013 Short Film Jury Award at Sundance. Donoghue’s recent projects include design work and workshops at The Ark, a Cultural Centre for Children in Dublin, Ireland.

What We Leave in Our Wake (Ireland)
2010, color, 70 minutes

What We Leave in Our Wake is a filmic essay that unfolds as a series of conversations on Ireland exploring themes of emigration, mythology, consumerism, socialism, the place of the Church in Irish life, the central role of land in Irish history, the sense of a civic society, and differences between urban and rural Ireland, the local and the universal. Combining images of contemporary Ireland with an evocative blend of archival footage, this searching documentary investigates what it is that persists rather than what is transient, and talks to some of those uniquely placed to comment on how this country has evolved.
Directed by Pat Collins


11:00 am - Program 5

Will Rogers in Dublin (USA)
1927, b&w, 3 minutes

Comedian Will Rogers stops off in Dublin during a European tour and comments on Irish history, society, and architecture with his signature irreverent humor.

The Irish Riviera (Ireland)
1936, b&w, 15 minutes

This early example of a state-sponsored promotional film made to entice visitors to the sunny south coast briefly visits Cork City and lingers at the remote outposts of Mizen Head, Garnish, the Blasket Islands (then inhabited), and Dunquin.
Produced by the Irish Tourist Association

The Columbans: President Kennedy in Ireland (Ireland)
1963, color, 26 minutes

This is the only professional color film of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in the summer of 1963. Kennedy was the first American president to visit an independent Ireland and his visit was seen both as an endorsement of Ireland’s success and as a national celebration of homecoming. The film follows the President on his tours to Dublin, Wexford, Cork, and Galway, capturing the excitement and joy of a nation from spectators on the rooftops of Wexford to Irish dancers by the beaches in Salthill.
Produced by the Columban Fathers

1:00 pm - Program 6

Introduction by Vincent O’Neill, Irish Classical Theater

Rocky Road to Dublin (Ireland)
1968, b&w, 69 minutes

This is the first independent Irish documentary to critically investigate Irish society and, as the director’s voiceover states, “to reconstruct, in images, the plight of a community which survived nearly 700 years of English occupation and then nearly sank under the weight of its own heroes and clergy.” In this polemical film, made by returned émigré and journalist Peter Lennon, the aspirations of the founders of the Irish State are contrasted with the social and economic malaise afflicting Ireland in the 1960s. According to the film, the Irish exchanged one form of oppression (British rule) for another (the Catholic Church and the weight of tradition). This thesis is illustrated through a series of interviews with Ireland’s patriotic sportsmen, priests, censors, and schoolchildren, who unwittingly convey the truth about a repressed, suppressed, and massively censored Republic.
Directed by Peter Lennon

The Making of “Rocky Road to Dublin” (Ireland)
2004, color, 30 minutes

The production, distribution, and restoration history of Rocky Road to Dublin proved worthy of a documentary itself. This film reunites director Peter Lennon and cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who recount the making of their then-controversial and now-classic documentary.
Directed by Paul Duane

3:30 pm - Program 7

Flea Ceoil (Ireland)
1967, b&w, 23 minutes

Louis Marcus’ film was made in the town of Kilrush in Co. Clare in 1967, at the peak of the 1960s resurgence of traditional Irish music. This intimately observed film records Irish and international folk musicians coming together to listen to and play music, to sing, dance, and drink, and to enjoy the craic.
In Irish with English subtitles.
Directed by Louis Marcus

From Shore to Shore (USA)
1993, color, 57 minutes

From Shore to Shore examines both the continuity and the changes that have affected Irish traditional music since the turn of the last century. Vibrantly mixing historic photographs and film footage with contemporary interviews and musical performances, the film focuses particularly on Irish immigrant musicians and their descendants, tracing the influences of family and community, ethnic identity, and American popular culture on the traditional music played in contemporary New York City.
Directed by Patrick Mullins

7:00 pm - Program 8

Glimpses of Erin (USA)
1934, b&w, 8 minutes

One of the much-loved series of James A. Fitzpatrick’s cinema travelogues, this film follows the standard style of a breezy postcard sent from an exotic location. While featuring some geographic and historical inaccuracies, the film espouses the quality of life in rural Ireland. Much emphasis is placed on quaint rural practices, stone walls, and unhurried lifestyles. A fleeting visit to Dublin shows the hustle and bustle of city life.
Produced by James A. Fitzpatrick

Three Short Films by Ken Wardrop (Ireland):
"Useless Dog" (5 min.); "The Herd" (4 min.); "Undressing My Mother" (6 min.)

His and Hers (Ireland)
2009, color, 80 minutes

Ken Wardrop’s award-winning documentary tells a 90-year love story in 70 different female voices. Presented in order of age, interviewees from the midlands speak with affection, humor, and occasional bemusement about the men in their lives. Luminous and beautifully framed, the film works as a generative collage: what may seem trivial in some of the early interviews acquires depth when echoed in the stories of the older speakers. Each woman offers her own hopes, plans, recollections, or regrets, but it is Wardrop’s considerable achievement that, through deft repetitions in color and composition, the film leaves the viewer with the impression that one has spent 90 years in the presence of a single soul.
Directed by Ken Wardrop


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Mark Twain in Buffalo. The book.
A history in letters, articles, and photogaphs of Mark Twain’s journey to Buffalo and his life here from 1869-1871.
Edited by Robert H. Hirst & Patrick E. Martin. Published by W.S. Hein & Co.

Available now at local book stores including Talking Leaves Books, and in the bookshop inside the Central Library downtown. Copies may also be ordered online at:

Hardcover, for $25. Limited edition, numbered and signed, leather-bound, with a facsimile copy of the newly discovered Twain letter from the Buffalo collection, for $100. All proceeds of sale benefit the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.

scholars at Muse - fall 2010


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