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Film Details

TitleLORG SHORCHA, AN
Production companyEO Teilifís
TG4
SponsorSound & Vision (Sceim Maoiniúcháin Craoltóireachta)
Country of originIreland
ProducerNí BHRIAIN, Carmel
Ní THUATHAIL, Máire
DirectorNic DHIARMADA, Briona
CastNiamh O’Sullivan (Sorcha Ní Ghuairim), Jack Kavanagh.
Colourcol
SoundDigital Stereo
Duration52
TX channelTG4
TX date30/01/2007
CopyTG4
SummaryA documentary looking at the life of unique sean nos singer Sorcha Ní Ghuairim. Born in Roisin na Mainioch, Carna, Connemara, in 1911, into a family of eleven children, Ní Ghuairim’s life is still the subject of much speculation, confusion and rumour. She was one of the first women from her background to enter university and she died as an alcoholic in a basement flat in London. The documentary begins with Ní Ghuairim’s rendition of her favourite song, ‘An Droighnean Donn’, a tragic love narrative that, according to leachtóir, Ríonach Uí Ógáin, seems to sum up Ní Ghuairim’s own life. Uí Ógáin attempts to trace the life of this enigmatic womam, asking the question “Who was Sorcha Ní Ghuairim?” and states that she found only half-truths and silences in her quest. As a woman, Sorcha Ní Ghuairim is perceived as a rule-breaker within De Valera’s Ireland of the 1920s to the 1950s. The film traces the life – full of contradictions and irony - of Sorcha Ní Ghuairim from her birth in Roisín Na Mainiach, her early years in Mainioch, and her scholarship at University College Galway. Uí Ogáin states that it remains a mystery as to why Ní Ghuairim finished college before gaining a degree. The film goes on to examine her relationship with Dublin activist, communist and republican, Sean Beaumont, whom she met while teaching at Cois Fhairraige. The film traces her move to Dublin, the death of her mother, her membership of a small left-wing group and involvement in Beaumont’s left-wing Irish-language newspaper, An t-Eireannach, which she became full-time editor of at the age of twenty-seven; Ní Ghuairim’s relationship with Eamon MacGrotty, a colleague at the newspaper, is short-lived when he is killed in the Spanish Civil War – prompting Ní Ghuairim to publish a controversial editorial in the newspaper before its closure due to bankruptcy. In 1941, Beaumont obtains a post for Ní Ghuairim in the Irish Department of Trinity College. While visiting her relatives in America in 1946, Ní Ghuairim recorded a collection of sean nos songs for the Folkways music label and continued to live a bohemian lifestyle as an independent woman in Dublin’s social circles. Uí Ógáin points out that while Ní Ghuairim had relationships with men (including the poet Máirtín Ó Direáin), she remained single. In the 1950s, she was broadcasting Irish-language folklore on radio and writing in the Irish section of the Irish Press, again in the employ of Beaumont. Uí Ógáin attempts to get to the bottom of Ní Ghuairim’s relationship with Beaumont, but is unable to account for their break-up. Ní Ghuairim’s personal life took a turn for the worse when she fell in love with a young doctor from Dublin who eventually married someone else. The film traces Ní Ghuairim’s refuge in An Cheatrú Rua, her meeting with the painter Charles Lamb, who painted her portrait, and how cultural and political issues contributed to her depression – especially the neglect of the Gaeltacht. Ní Ghuairim’s life takes a dramatic turn when, in 1955, she moves to London. Uí Ógáin attempts to explain this radical move with reference to the alleged assault-rape of Ní Ghuairim in her Dublin flat and the likelihood that she had to travel to England for an abortion. Uí Ógáin suggests that this would explain the silence of these later years. Her pain is further exacerbated by the loss of her private archive in a suitcase at a train station in London. The film ends with Ní Ghuairim’s final years as an alcoholic in Pimlico, London, shunning other Irish people, and working in restaurants and bars. Uí Ógáin states that little is known about Ní Ghuairim’s last twenty years until her death of pneumonia on 15th December, 1976, and that she was buried in her native Connemara in a family grave that doesn’t bear her name. Contributors: Leachtóir, Ríonach Uí Ógáin; Joe Pheadair Ní Ghuairim; nephew, Ciaran Brady; niece, Eileen Brady; Eamon O’Giosain, Garmhac Shéain Beaumont; Dubhghlas Sealy; Sheamuis Ó Flatharta; Liali Lamb De Buitléar.
LanguageIrish
Production creditsbuíoclas le: Muintir Ghuarím, Muintir Brady, Aras Shorcha Ní Ghuairím, Carna, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Peadar Mac an Iomaire, Seamus Ó Concheallainn, Seán Ó Guairim, An tAthairPeadar Ó Conghaile, Scoil Náisiúnta Nhuire, Carna, Ostean Chuan, Carna, Peadraic Ó Coirbín, Nóra Uí Shúilleabháin, Tomás Ó Caodháin, Brid Ní Chearra, Seeamus Mac Mathúna, Ollscoil na hEireann, Gaillimh, Coláiste na hOllscoile, Ardan Phort an Iarla, BAC, Antoine Ó Coileáin, Robert Ellis, Mary Forde, Coláiste na Tríonóide, Neasa Ní Chinnéide, Barbara Wright, Cahterine McGuinness, Peadraigín Nei Bhaoill, Sunniva O’Flynn, Peadar Lamb, Seeamus Jimí Mac Donnchadha, Joan McDermott, Taisce Cheol Dúchais Eireann, Orla King, Scoil na gaeilge, An Léinn Cheiltigh, Bhéaloideas Éireann, Na Teangeolaíochta, UCD, Liam Mac an Iomaire, cartlann: The Irish Film Archive of the Irish Film Institute, Huntley Film Archives, BBC Source, Éamon Ó Ciosáin, Rionach Uí Ogáin, Cartlann Bhéaloideas Éireann, Gael Linn, Lailli Lamb De Buitlear, leaithreoir: Rionach Uí Ogáin, rannpheairtithe: Seosamh Ó Guairím, Nan Tom Teaimim de Burca, Éamon Ó Closeain, An tSr. Eileen Bláthnnaid Brady, Meaití Joe Shéamuis Ó Flatharta, guthanna: Liam Mac an Iomaire, Mairéad Ní Flathearta, sc: Bríona Nic Diarmada, comhairleoir scripte: Pat Murphy, ceamera: Ncian De Buitlear, Peter Robertson, Ferdia de Buitlear, cuntóir ceamera: Conor Kelly, ceamradóireacht rostraim: Christine Ní Conchubhair, fuaim: Karl Merren, Kieran Horgan, Matte Hopwood, tiománaí: Mike Watson, feighlí: Andrea Kavanagh, propanna: Darren McGee, cultacha: The Costume Mill, maor feistis agis smidiú: Mary Faye, bainisteoir teicniúil: Seamus Ó hEidhin, aiseanna: The Farm, fuaimrian: Cathal Ó Meealóid, eagarthóir line: Ivor Hyland, bainisteoir léirithe: Christine Ní Conchubhair, eagerthóir: Gordon Bruic, léiritheoir feidhmúcháin do TG4: Michéal Ó Meallaigh, léiritheoir feidhmúcháin do Choimisiún Craclacheain na hÉireann: Brian Furey, léiritheoiri: Carmel Ní Bhriain, Maire Ni Thuathail, stiúrthóir: Briona Nic Dhiarmada, spon: Sound & Vision (Sceim Maoiniúcháin Craoltóireachta), p.c.: EO Teilifís, TG4.
Genre/CategoryTV Documentary
KeywordsSingers
Sean Nos
Migration
London Irish
Irish in Britain

Contact: irishfilm@tcd.ie | Last updated: Aug 13 2019.