She is Ireland’s most prolific travel writer, but just how many people in modern Ireland have heard of Dervla Murphy? This new feature documentary asks ‘Who is Dervla Murphy?’ with the aim of profiling this extraordinary talent and trailblazing Irish woman.
It’s just over fifty years since her first book ‘Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle’ was published. In 1963 it was a brave and courageous act for this young Waterford woman to set off cycling with the intention of getting to India.
This renowned author continues to travel around the world and her passion and determination remains an inspiration to many fans globally.
Dervla’s travels have brought her to Tibet, Cameroon, Rwanda, Peru, Ethiopia and Siberia. Dervla’s also boasts an astute political sensibility as demonstrated in ‘Race to Finish, The Nuclear Stakes’ and her writings on Northern Ireland in ‘A Place Apart’.
This award winning documentary profiles this elusive figure through rare and exclusive access to Dervla, her family and friends. The film features unique contributions from actor/presenter Michael Palin, daughter Rachel Murphy, publisher John Murray and Irish travel writer Manchán Magan. Including rare footage of her home in Lismore, Co.Waterford, audiences will now get to discover why Dervla Murphy is respected worldwide for her writing and her distinct personality.
Produced by husband and wife team, Garret Daly and Martina McGlynn of Mixed Bag Media, the project was produced in association with The Waterford Arts Office. ‘Watching this film feels like spending an evening with Dervla – a unique and moving experience’ commented director Garret Daly. ‘We were privileged to be given this window into her life and I think audiences will appreciate that.’
Who is Dervla Murphy? opens exclusively in Movies@Dundrum and SGC Dungarvan on April 23rd.
DIR/WRI: Garret Daly, Martina McGlynn • PRO: Gerry Burke, Pj Curtis, Garret Daly, Martina McGlynn • DOP: Garret Daly • ED: James Daly • MUS: Graeme Stewart • CAST: Tara Breathnach, Muireann Bird, Gerard McCarthy
A Nightingale Falling sees the directorial return of Garret Daly (Bogman, A Grand Experience) alongside Martina McGlynn who has also worked alongside Garret in a producer role for the aforementioned projects.
The film takes place in Ireland during the War of Independence. Sisters Tilly (Muireann Bird) and May Collingwood (Tara Breathnach) find their world turned upside down when they find and care for a wounded rebel soldier in their home.
Lust, secrecy and jealousy transpire as the two sisters vie for the affection of smooth talking and handsome Captain Shearing (Gerard McCarthy).
A Nightingale Falling is a very interesting take on the War of Independence. On the surface, the film screams authenticity and is very much like looking into a window into history. Beyond the surface is where the film really shines.
While a war is brewing externally, it is the internal war within the confines of the Collingwood house raging between two sisters over a fallen rebel soldier that is most intriguing. Breathnach’s performance as May Collingwood is breathtaking and the character development of a strong and confident woman to being left as nothing but a hollow and jealous wreck is nothing short of remarkable.
Muireann Bird’s performance of a naïve and innocent younger sister in Tilly really props up Breathnach’s character excellently and the two bounce off each other very well to create a very powerful on-screen dynamic.
A Nightingale Falling is a very enjoyable Irish film and those wishing to see up and coming talent from our own doorstep need look no further.
Diarmaid Blehein catches A Nightingale Falling, Garret Daly and Martina McGlynn’s debut feature about a turbulent period in Irish history, which screened at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.
A full house gathered in Galway’s Townhall Theatre on a particularly warm July evening to attend the premiere of A Nightingale Falling as part of the Galway Film Fleadh. The evening began with a few words from the directors Garret Daly and Martina McGlynn, whose excitement to have their film finally shown to the world proved somewhat contagious. After many extensions of deserved gratitude, the lights dimmed and the show got under way.
Adapted from the novel by PJ Curtis, A Nightingale Falling tells the story of two sisters May (Tara Breathnach) and Tilly (Muireann Bird), who live in a large farmhouse in the country during the Irish War of Independence. Times are tough and both women work hard to make ends meet, with the help of some local farm labourers. However, their peaceful lives are suddenly disrupted when May finds a critically injured British soldier called Jack (Gerard McCarthy) in their yard. They take him in and do their best to nurse him back to health, fully aware of the consequences of such actions. As Jack slowly recovers, both sisters start to develop feelings for him, but it is only to Tilly he returns such affections. Meanwhile, the Black and Tan soldiers are terrorising the village, searching for Irish rebels, as well as their missing captain.
Daly and McGlynn deliver a fine film which focuses on the effect of a nationwide crisis on one particularl family. Breathnach gives a fine performance as the older and more authoritative May, while Bird is equally impressive as the younger, more excitable Tilly, whom the audience get to see mature before their eyes. The most effective scenes are early on when the sisters are slyly vying for Jack’s affections, without any direct confrontation on the matter apart from the looks they exchange when one catches the other alone with him. The feeling of danger is also very imminent with the ruthless Black and Tans never too far away, added by the fact that many of the farm labourers who work for the sisters are themselves IRA members. The film also doesn’t shy away from the tragic loss of life in this era, as well as the desperate actions of those trying to get away unscathed. Towards the end of the film there comes a twist that will throw even the most experienced filmgoer.
Beautifully directed and brilliantly acted, A Nightingale Falling is a moving, authentic piece of cinema about a turbulent period in Irish history where loyalty and trust were for many the only means of protection.
Garret Daly shares some advice for directing your first short.
1. Make sure you are true to the short story form.
Don’t make pilots or condensed versions of bigger stories. We’ve all done it from time to time, but the best shorts are those that embrace the format and deliver an effective short story.
2. Prepare for battle.
All filmmaking brings with it the challenges of production. As a director be clear and prepared in your own head. That way when those challenges arise, you can deal with them in a controlled manner.
3. Find a good team.
People you can trust. People that inspire you.
4. Rehearsals are a very important.
It’s cheaper than actual production and it’s a great way for cast and sometimes crew to break the ice before the meter starts to run fully on the production budget.
5. Enjoy what you are doing.
Be an inspiring leader and people will trust you and respond to you. Then that creative spark you are searching for will follow.
Garret Daly is a director/producer who runs the media production company Mixed Bag Media.
Originally from county Meath, Garret has been working in media for over 20 years. Having graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BA in Media Studies, and an MA in Film Production from Sheffield Hallam University, Garret embarked on a radio career that included the likes of Radio Kerry, LMFM and RTE Lyric FM.
From there he moved to freelance producing and has since produced the likes of The Tubridy Show, The Gerry Ryan Show, Dave Fanning and John Creedon. He is also a PPI award-winning producer and his radio documentaries have received wide acclaim.
His extensive documentary and television career includes the award-winning film Who is Dervla Murphy?, which focused on the unique Irish travel writer and has screened internationally. He has directed a series for TV3, produced a number of broadcast documentaries and short films, directed the RTÉ Storyland series Rental Boys, and has received a number of awards for his film and television work.
His latest work is the historical drama A Nightingale Falling, the first fiction feature from Mixed Bag Media, which he has co-directed and co-produced with his company partner Martina McGlynn. The film is due for release later in 2014.
Mixed Bag Media have finished post-production on a sixty minute profile documentary about the famous Lismore travel writer, titled Who is Dervla Murphy?
Featuring footage at her home in Lismore and journeys with her granddaughters, viewers will be given new insight into Dervla’s home life. The programme also features interviews with her daughter Rachel Murphy, broadcaster and travel writer Manchán Magan, her publisher John Murray as well as Dervla herself.
Who is Dervla Murphy? will be premiered at the Immrama Travel Writers Festival on 10th June 2010. The programme is produced by Mixed Bag Media in association with County Waterford Arts Office. It’s directed by Garret Daly and Produced by Martina McGlynn.