Today I was thinking about what Ireland means to me. Before, when I thought about Ireland, I could see Oscar Wilde and Bono singing in the background. After a few years spent in Roscommon, I changed my mind, probably because U2 never play in Loughnaneane Park and Oscar Wilde definitely wonít be writing anything about Roscommon.
I thought and thought and decided that Ireland for me is basically the Lamb Festival, St. Patrickís Day parade and Dunnes Stores. Itís terrible, I donít move my nose outside work, the Castle and everyday pleasures. I have lost my fascination with all things Irish. I was terrified but suddenly in my hand landed a DVD, ĎIrish talent on film: A selection of short filmsí.
I have to confess that I didnít know this side of Irish life and I was pleasantly surprised. Basically, directors, have taken a quirky look at typical Irish life and told small stories with big messages. In the short film ĎPump Actioní, which is just four minutes long, we meet a superb Irish dancer who has no problem making the switch to his day job in a car dismantlers. This story was masterfully executed, with good rhyming, rapid, clever montages and great special effects.
In the next short film, a farmer, deep in hidden Ireland, in an empty field, suddenly finds a weird piece of equipment. He quickly discovers how to work it and by moving the parts, he can change day to night. What does he do? He starts to play with it, dancing around and changing day to night, night to day and all the people living on the earth start to go crazy. Trust me, I havenít laughed so much in ages.
Now, I have to confess something. One of the short films was completely unintelligible to me. It was a story of a boy called Frankie who came complete with a strong Dublin accent. Even this didnít disturb me enough to feel good about his film. Language, places and characters were all compatible and the most important element was the atmosphere, which could almost be touched. I felt that, even though the only word I could understand in the fast monologue was the ĎFí word.
So, Irish culture is not just chips, music and castles. Young artists, as they discovered their roots, create new art and this art is very well produced. Itís probably not true that nothing is happening in Roscommon because Ireland does not start or finish in this town, so sometimes itís good to see the bigger picture and check out whatís new.