‘CUMAR: A Galway Rhapsody’ to premiere at 31st Galway Film Fleadh

Aodh Ó Coileáin
Jun 26 2019 Posted: 09:54 IST

A new bilingual documentary by NUI Galway Academic Aodh Ó Coileáin

A new bilingual documentary, ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’, will premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. The creative feature-length film, directed by NUI Galway’s Aodh Ó Coileáin and produced by Paddy Hayes of Magamedia Teo., examines the influence of Galway city and Connemara on six artists from varied fields. In turn the lens focuses on the impact of these artists’ work on the place where they live. 

The artists featured in the film include: musician/composer Máirtín O’Connor; novelist Mike McCormack; poet Rita Ann Higgins; Noeline Kavanagh, artistic director of Macnas; singer song-writer, Róisín Seoighe; visual artist, Pádraic Reaney; and comedian, Tommy Tiernan.  While Galway Street Club make a guest appearance with their own brand of music. 

These artists explore Galway as a confluence of creativity and as a nucleus for artistic endeavour. The focus of the film is a visual evaluation of the link between these Galway based artists and their environment. ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ also parses some of the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Galway itself and moulded its artistic culture over time. Along a crossroads of sea, of land, of thought and story, Galway has always been receptive to new influences; the city bears the print of so many civilisations and cultures.

The film’s auteur Aodh Ó Coileáin is Programme Director of the MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin) and also teaches on the BA (Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge) programme at NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.  His last film ‘Fís na Fuiseoige/The Lark’s View’ was premiered to critical acclaim at the Dublin International Film Festival in 2016 and went on to win awards at the Earth Day Film Festival in San Francisco and the London Irish Film Festival. Ó Coileáin is Chairperson of an Taibhdhearc, Ireland’s National Irish Language Theatre. 

Novelist, IMPAC award winner and NUI Galway lecturer Mike McCormack says in the film:

“When I first arrived in Galway aged 19, I developed a private mythology of Galway as a city on the edge of the world where one has to turn around to look at the world - to comprehend it.  Galway has a great curiosity about the world as a result.”

Noeline Kavanagh from Macnas, added: “Art happens out of necessity, and certain landscapes are a cluster for that to be released, and I feel that there are some laylines in the West of Ireland that draw a particular sensibility out of people.”

The film’s Director Aodh Ó Coileáin said: “Since coming to live in Galway over 30 years ago, I have wondered what it is about this catchment area that produces artists and attracts artists to the City of Tribes.  The film touches on some of the explanations that have occurred to me from time to time: the city’s diverse cultural background stretching into medieval times and beyond, the confluence of languages, the rich tradition of music and song, or is it simply the meeting of the waters: river, lake, and sea?”

‘CUMAR – A Galway Rhapsody’ is the project which was selected for the 2017 ilDÁNA commission. The ilDÁNA scheme is an opportunity for documentary filmmakers to make a landmark, cinematic documentary on the arts in Irish. ilDána is a partnership between TG4 and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, in association with Galway Film Centre.

The film will premiere at Galway Film Fleadh, Town Hall Theatre, on Wednesday, 10 July, at 2pm. ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ will also screen at this year’s Clifden Arts Festival and at Shorelines Arts Festival in Portumna in September.


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories