The Great Famine is marked indelibly on every Irish people's DNA when it comes to remembering the single most tragic event in Irish history.
Locations in south Donegal like the abandoned workhouse in Ballyshannon still evoke a powerful and haunting direct link, to the failure of the potato crop between 1845-49.
It decimated the Irish population by the millions and for many people, its resonance is still an open wound.
To date, it has been left in the hands of historians to debate and analyse, but now a new thriller movie, Black 47, based on the tragic events of the time is set to screen this week and later this month in the United States.
It will be the first time that the horrors of the starvation and suffering endured by the population, will be used as a backdrop for a major film.
Black '47 will be released in almost all cinemas in Ireland – including Bundoran and Letterkenny on September 5th, as well as Buncrana on September 21st. It will also be showing in Lifford.
Ronan O’Connor from Ballyshannon is an actor in the film, with Rossa O’Neill, a Location Manager.
Patrick O’Neill, also from Ballyshannon served as an Associate Producer, and he owns Wildcard Distribution - the company responsible for releasing the film in Ireland and UK.
He told the Donegal Post:
“I am delighted that Black 47 is reaching cinemas in Donegal this week. The famine is such an important Irish story, with strong historical resonance for many places in Donegal, including my home town Ballyshannon that has the Work house, and a famine memorial. The film is a really entertaining thriller, as well as showing the famine for the first time ever on film.
“There was a strong Donegal connections on the production, as well as my own involvement as a Producer and Distributor of the film. It also features a young Ballyshannon man in a key role, Ronan O’Connor, and my brother Rossa worked as Location Manager.”
A synopsis of the movie reads:
"It’s 1847 and Ireland is in the grip of the Great Famine that has ravaged the country for two long years. Feeney, a hardened Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, abandons his post to return home and re-unite with his estranged family. He’s seen more than his share of horrors but nothing prepares him for the famine’s hopeless destruction of his homeland. He discovers his mother starved to death and his brother hanged by the brutal hand of the English.
"With little else to live for, he sets on a destructive path to avenge his family, systematically working his way up the political and social hierarchy of 19th Century Ireland. Hannah, an ageing British soldier and famed tracker of deserters, is sent to stop Feeney before he can further stoke the fires of revolution."
It’s set to do very well in Ireland, and has also a release planned for the US on 28th September.
Check out www.black47film.com
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