Older Than Ireland

OLDER THAN IRELAND (Ireland/PG/87mins)
Directed by Alex Fegan. Starring Bessie Nolan, Kathleen Snavely, Luke Dolan.
THE PLOT: Various Irish people who have reached 100 years of age and beyond reminisce about their lives, from the aftermath of the 1916 Rising through both World Wars, that first kiss, the arrival of television, the birth of rock’n’roll, hippies, the Pope’s visit, the arrival of RTE2 and the last kiss. Some, such as Dubliner Bessie Nolan and New York millionaire Kathleen Snavely, have plainly enjoyed quite a few rare oul’ times whilst others are merely spending each day patiently waiting in Dr. Death’s reception. All Irish life is here…
THE VERDICT: Having already turned the twee all the way up to 11 with 2013’s THE IRISH PUB, Alex Fegan puts another of our green and peasant land’s dying breed under the spotlight here, as he interviews 30 Irish people who were born before the 1916 Rising. As with THE IRISH PUB, there’s always a very real danger here that proceedings will slip into John Hinde’s ‘Creature Comforts’, as some cuddly, chucklesome old folk cough up a few golden memories and the odd vendetta, but once again, Fegan holds it together, managing to balance the magic with the tragic by keeping the hell out of the way.
With the arc of the film following the arc of a life, the 30 characters taking part get emotional about the early years and, in many cases, surprisingly hard about the latter, with more than one stating flatly that they’d rather be dead. Amidst all the flat caps, crooked teeth and conspiratorial cackles lies some deep home truths, OLDER THAN IRELAND leaving the viewer to make up their own mind where the line between bliss and piss might lie.
Review by Paul Byrne

Review by Paul Byrne
Magic & tragic