Ballycloran Revisited

Let us start at the beginning, rather than the start, because with Ballycloran Revisited, the start was filmed in the middle.

On a bright Autumn evening, Director Colleen Guckian, assembled the first cast members (Geraldine Monaghan, Michael O Dowd, Sinead Guckian and Kevin Ludlow) for scene one, take one, on location at the home of the late John McManus. This house would later double as the final abode of Old McDermott (Michael Guckian) and his minder Mary McGovery (Regina McNabola). A few local people drove past as those first scenes were rehearsed and filmed and showed some surprise, but over the next few weeks the sight of nineteenth century residents, camera and crew became a sight less out of the ordinary.

With the fist scenes in the can, the Director continued to co ordinate the talented cast and crew across the various sets; Jim and Ella Gannon’s house, Drumsna Church, Sonny and Kathleen Moran’s Drive, Sarah Gill’s House, Taylor’s pub, Sinead Guckian’s Garden and the old school.

By the end of week one; Feemy McDermott (Eleanor Glancy) had been courted by the dashing Captain Usher (Noel Duignan) only to see him struck down by her protective brother Thady. Father John had arranged protective accommodation for Feemy in Belmont House with the McKeons (Ella Gannon, Sonny Moran, Aileen and Lisa Rinn).

Week two brought us into Ballycloran itself with the McDermotts loyal maid (Bernie Gill) and we filmed the wrangling over the property with the agents Brady (Micky McNabola) and Keegan (Anthony Creegan).

By the middle of week three, we had got to the start and the arrival of Anthony Trollope himself (Jim Gannon) and his friend John Merrivale (Brendan Reynolds) at the Ivy Tree Inn to be greeted by the Inn Keeper (Elsie Taylor) as they prepared to examine the books of errant postmaster Slack (Liam Costello).

 

The filming of this arrival and the walk to Ballycloran forms the opening scenes of the story and captures the mood of the book, the poverty of the locals (Patricia and Orlaith Guckian) and the haunting and lonesome beauty of Ballycloran itself.

 

As filming moved towards the biggest scene in the movie; “the race scene”, actors had taken to their characters so much that it was not unusual to see residents, in costume on days when their character was not involved in filming. If they handed out oscars for “no budget movies” then the “race scene” in Ballycloran Revisited would be in with a good shout of an award. no horses were injured during the filming of the scene, in fact the only horse involved watched proceedings from a distance under the care of groom Derek Kellegher.

Almost every resident of the village assembled in Tommy and Teasie McLoughlin’s field dressed in nineteenth century costume. Local footballer Nial O Dowd, raced across the field behind the camera while in the foreground everyone cheered and shouted, to encourage the imaginary horses across the imaginary line. As the scene was filmed a group of bemused tourists wandered up from the quay and gazed in amazement as a whole village in peculiar dress cheered a guy as he ran up and down the field.

You can view the Race Scene from Ballycloran Revisited here

With the excitement a nurse was required (Carmel Guckian) and Keegan’s wife (Siobhan Doran) struggled to keep Keegan in check.

The plot moved to its inevitable and tragic conclusion as the legal personnel (Sean Boland and Barry Guckian) made their debut. Sound was removed from those harrowing closing scenes in post production to underline the tragedy of the finale.

Three weeks after filming commenced, Colleen Guckian recorded the voice over narration at Century Foxboro Studios and the final print was produced.

 

The film premiered to coincide with the visit of the Trollpoe Society from the UK and America.

You can read about the premiere of Ballycloran Revisited here