We continue our series of posts on the films at 2015 Galway Film Fleadh, taking a look at Declan McGrath’s documentary Mary McAleese and the Man Who Saved Europe. The film screens Friday July 10th, at 2pm in the Town Hall Theatre.

Mary McAleese and the Man Who Saved Europe sees the former Irish president travel through Ireland, France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, to trace the impact of Irish monk St. Columbanus on Europe.

St. Columbanus was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries on the European continent from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil Abbey in present-day France and Bobbio Abbey in present-day Italy. It is believed that Columbanus and his disciples established over one hundred centres of scholarship and spirituality throughout the European continent. These foundations are said to have preserved Western civilisation during the dark ages.

During her journey McAleese discovers that the ultimate relevance of Columbanus’ story is how it shows the benefits of being hospitable to the “other”, and how such openness to diversity can offer lessons to the often fractured Europe of today.

Mary McAleese and the Man Who Saved Europe has its world premiere on Friday July 10th, at 2pm in the Town Hall Theatre. Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese and director Declan McGrath will attend the screening.

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