Fear Bhleá Cliath – the man behind the myth

photoshop doc by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Dublin in flames at Easter 1916
A still from “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh”

(Scroll down for a more “revealing” post, in the English language)

Fuair mé glaoch ó Joe Steve Ó Neachtain an lá cheana. Bhí sé tar éis mo scannáinín a fheiscint ag Scoil Samhraidh an Phiarsaigh agus thaistigh uaidh é a fheiscint aríst!!!   “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” a bhí i gceist aige, an gearrscannán a chruthaigh mé mar chuid den togra ealaíne “Ag Seasamh an Fhóid”.  Bhuel, tá clú agus cáil ar Joe Steve mar scríobhnóir, aisteoir, drámadóir agus craoltóir agus mar sin, le barr fiosrachta, d’iarr mé air céard a bhí i gceist aige.

“Bhuel”, ar seisean, “Tá Oireachtas Chois Fharraige ar siúl an tseachtain seo chugainn agus ba mhaith linn é a chraoladh ansin”. (Bhí comóradh speisialta ar siúl acu i mbliana, ní h-amháin ar Oireachtas na Gaeilge 1976 ach ar Éirí amach na Cásca 1916 agus ar bhunú Chumann Forbartha Chois Fharraige i 1966. Agus ní comóradh amháin a bhí i gceist acu leis an bhféile, ach ceiliúradh mór ar an bpobal beo bríomhar atá ina cónaí i gCois Fharraige).

Ní ghá dom a rá go raibh mé iontach sásta gur iarradh ormsa a bheith páirteach sa bfhéile seo agus, fiú má bhí sé déanach, d’éirigh liom mé fhéin a eagrú agus – as go brách liom, siar go Conamara don deireadh seachtaine.

Photo of Síle Denvir and friends performing at Oireachtas Chois Fharraige
Síle Denvir agus a cairde ag cur “Caithréim” i láthair i rith Oireachtas Chois Fharraige, 2016

Oíche dé hAoine, bhí ceolchoirm álainn ar siúl ar dtús: “Caithréim”, á chur i láthair ag Síle Denvir agus a cairde.  Ansin craoladh “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” agus ansin chuir Fíbín “Mac Piarais i bPictiúir” i láthair. Níos déanaí fós, bhí seisiún ceoil ar siúl go maidin, i dTigh Mholly in Indreabháin.

Leanfaidh mé orm i mBéarla anois, mura miste leat…

Now I’m told that I don’t spill the beans when it comes to my art, that I don’t reveal much of my true self, my motivations, my raison d’etre etc. But I dunno, I thought I did – I thought that, if you were reading this blog regularly, you’d have a pretty good idea of where I’m coming from, where I stand on things.  But anyway, today I’m going to tell you about a piece of art that I’ve been working on all this year.

It’s a short film that ‘still needs work’ but is a combination of a whole lot of ideas that have been running around in my head for a long time.  This film is entitled: “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” – meaning: as the summer comes.  It was shown at a festival in Connemara last weekend and you can see it here below. (If you can’t see it just below here, you should click directly into the blog to see it)


The title refers to a song that was written/modified by Patrick Pearse: Óró, ’sé do bheatha abhaile. This was a song that was sung by the 1916 Volunteers on their long marches, as they trained for the the upcoming battle, and it was also a song that we all learned as kids (well, where I grew up, we all learned it). Generally speaking, I would say that the mood of the song is celebratory;  the summer is coming and it’s all going to be wonderful.  A more careful reading of the lyrics reveals that ‘our beautiful land has long been in the possession of robbers but, at last, we’re going to rout those pesky foreigners out of town’.  Note: I didn’t call the film: Now that the summer has come, I called it:  As the summer comes (will the summer ever come, I wonder?) but anyway, the film winds its way from frosty winter, through budding springtime to glorious summer, showing the flora and landscape of Connemara along the way.

Patrick Pearse in Ros Muc from Ó Pheann and Phiarsaigh and a photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

But that’s just one strand. The short stories of Pearse are also woven through it. Then there’s my own connection with Pearse, through my father and grandfather. There’s also the characters in Ros Muc who worked closely with Pearse before the Easter Rising. The film explores the rapport that developed between Pearse and the locals back then. In many ways, I can relate to this relationship because in the past year, I’ve been an outsider myself, a stranger from Dublin, getting to know the lie of the land and meeting up with the locals. I heard many stories about Pearse and I felt that I got to know the man and that I could understand him… indeed, I was a bit like him myself – quiet at first but just loving to be there and listening to the old stories… I sometimes wonder if my father was like that too…

I can see now why I haven’t written at length about particular pieces of art before because, as you see, I’ve only just scratched the surface and I’m already running out of ink. There’s more about this project on a previous blog ( here ) but I reckon I’ll leave it to another day to continue with “the revelations”. Is that ok with you?  I’ve one question for you – Would you prefer more or less words in the blog posts in future?  Your comments are always welcome.

Oireachtas Chois Fharraige/








  1. I’m liking that you’re writing in Irish more often. I for one wouldn’t mind a bit if you used more words in future posts. It might help non-artists (such as myself) understand the creative process a bit better, although I feel I’ve a decent understanding of your inspirations. Great post as always.


    • Thanks Jaye, – Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
      And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
      And tired I am of bog and road,
      And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

      Sorry, that wasn’t me but I thought you might like it. It’s a quote from a poem entitled: “Old woman of the roads” by the Irish poet Padraic Colum

      Liked by 1 person

  2. To me, your art is always very giving about your true self. I really love this film. Always loved this song. I find it very haunting for some reason. Beautifully edited. D


  3. Do not change a thing! Your ‘talking voice’ is of more value to the reader for lots of reasons: frequent erudition; objectivity, and questioning of the status quo; non-partisan in relation to art matters; a passionate art practitioner in your own right, a natural Gaelic speaker with a flair for making the language relevant. Your writing style is a breath of fresh air – eschewing the now familiar ‘smoke-screen’ of non-commitment and ‘playing safe’. Well done for personality and commitment Eoin.


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