Yum Creative

Yum Wrap – Irregular musings on film, art and media

Baile Átha Cliath, Republic of Ireland September 10th 2023 – Come Home Journal #22

A reckoning of the journey (turas) to tour Dancing Shadows in Ireland, a retrospective of my film works as part of the Come Home project.

Labhair í agus mairfidh sí – Speak her and she will live.

I head for the studio to set up for the first screening that night. The locals complain about the heat. It’s all relative of course. For me its a slightly cool 24. These darling people aren’t used to the sun. They point out places to sit uninterrupted by any shade. “There’s the sun, go and sit there.” I haven’t the heart to tell them I have hid my skin from the sun since a bout of sunstroke when I was 11 years old.

There’s something about staying in one place. Spreading out. Unfurling. Taking up space. Time to wonder wander and look up. I see seagulls everywhere. They call me to the sea. It might take them a few goes. I’m frightened of the ocean.

I wait for Mella on the stoop of the studio. She’s late and bustles in. She appears always to be darting between hiding behind her hair and throwing it back. It has a life of its own beyond her. She is industrious, absorbed, busy but forthright, she is a fascinating mix of bird and human.

We set up with the help of Tadhg, a wonderful young man who looks like my brother, all limbs and curly hair. I keep calling him Tige or Tigh, after my brother. He doesn’t mind. The Irish appear to be a very tolerant and welcoming people. Warm.

They’ll definitely call shit out though. Some tense moments but never a cross word. Tadhg and Mella have an easy relationship. Like mother and son. He’ll do anything for her, if she asks nicely! Including climbing into the freezer in the supermarket to scoop ice out for cooling the champagne.

I’ve been practising my Gaeilge in an attempt to honour the audience and the people here who have given me such a wonderful opportunity. In my studies i can read and write but talking and pronunciation is tricky with no one to practise on. However I feel even if it is spoken badly I have had a go!

There’s something about staying in one place.

The audience arrives. Small but mighty. They blame the heatwave. For me I’m glad anyone at all showed up. No one knows me here, nor my work. And their response is so gratifying. They ask many questions, and no one mentions my Irish language attempts. I’m not sure what to make of that. I resolve to ask Mella about it later but in the throes of the screenings and the talks I forget. Possibly a good thing!


IMAGE CREDIT: The Darkroom by Erin M McCuskey

The image journal can be found in this Collection – Ireland –  Flickr Album – in this album – Dublin


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