Writer, film maker and public speaker

The Men of Ventry and The Egg that Reared Them


The Ventry Cowboys And The Egg That Reared Them!

Talk of migration and its effects is, sadly, on Irish lips once again.  Tearful farewells on the mountain road are re-imagined and experienced once again. Partings it seems are the never-ending punctuation to the story of the rural communities of this country. However, there is another side to that sad coin.

Fearaibh Fionntra  – Men of Ventry is a series of hopeful vignettes which will be broadcast on TG4  in two parts, on Sunday May 5 at 9.30pm and on Monday May 6 at 8pm. Tellingly, the film uncovers a tale of  love and attachment that is undying and indeed is resonant of both the cherishing of and the seeking for quiet places.  Brenda Ní Shúilleabh​áin, the West Kerry domiciled documentary film-maker. records a reality which in these straitened times will nurture hope that other lives are still possible.

Viewers are admitted to the lives of those who stayed through earlier hard times. And The Merry Cowboys - Suaircfhearaibh na mBó are still sticking it out through thick and thin as their families before them have done for many generations.

Sean Moriarty has had a happy life on his dairy farm. Coming into his inheritance as a result of his brother's leaving, he was witnessed the great changes and a some contraction of community, but regardless, he is content. While Muiris Ó Fiannachta isn't optimistic about the survival of their way of life, himself and his son continue to farm their land. Despite his doubts, he continues working with wit and good-humour. Witness his hand-rearing of Jaws, a toothless lamb, with feeding bottles full of lager. Did he survive, or is he chops?

There has been emigration indeed, but the community has continued over the years to attract new blood.  American native, Harris Moore, a well-travelled busker in another life has the local Celtic museum, which houses amongst the antique jewellery and paintings, the only skeleton of a Woolly Mammoth extant in Ireland; Michel Chauvet runs his restaurant 'The Skipper', which is located in the centre of the village. He says that he left the area once, but was inevitably drawn back: marine engineer John Holstead came to visit many years ago, and stayed, never to return to his Yorkshire home.  After working in the Dingle dockyard he built a reputation as a sculptor. The film records the unveiling of his work which portrays, inside a shell structure, the fields and town lands and the surrounding mountains which incubate and enables the lives and talents, that nurture livestock and the land, and also gave birth to his creation 'The Ventry Egg'. Watch this egg being laid in the beautiful surroundings of Cuan Pier.

Asked why they stay on in the parish, the participants in this moving and sensitive film say quite simply, it's because they like it there.

Ellen BrandonProductions  www.brenda.ie

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