In this Film Ireland podcast, Gemma Creagh talks to Luke McManus about his documentary musical North Circular. 

North Circular travels the length of Dublin’s fabled North Circular Road, from the Phoenix Park to Dublin Port, meeting characters and hearing their personal stories, often told in music and song.  The film celebrates the vibrant cultural heritage of the various neighbourhoods the road connects, along with the addressing the challenges of living along the famed road.

These character’s stories are both heartfelt and intimate. But they also evoke narratives from Irish history: imperialism, revolution, incarceration, institutionalisation, the housing crisis, and the struggle for gender equality.

Told in black and white 4:3 Academy ratio, North Circular also engages with urgent contemporary issues, including the battle to save the legendary Cobblestone Pub, centre of Dublin’s new folk and trad scene, from destruction at the hands of property developers.

The film includes searing musical performances from artists who live along the North Circular, or ‘The Norrier’ as it’s affectionately referred to by locals, including Lisa O’Neill, John Francis Flynn, Séan Ó Túama, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, Ian Lynch & Gemma Dunleavy.

It also features contributions from historians and writers who live in the area including Ellen Rowley, Eamon Delaney, Paul Rouse & Catriona Crowe.

North Circular is written and directed by Luke McManus, edited by John Murphy and produced by Luke McManus & Elaine Gallagher for Madhouse Films, with funding from the Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon under their ReelArt Scheme.

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