Perched on the edge of Ireland, at one of the furthest points west in Europe is the city of Galway, sandwiched between the wild waters of the Atlantic ocean and the southern tip of Lough Corrib. It is a place that still holds an air of mystery and because of that has always drawn some of the most creative, intelligent people from all over our country. It is a place where art and artists come to flourish.
Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody is a contemplative piece of art in it’s own right, borne of the mind of director Aodh Ó Coileán, it seeks to explore what attracts people from the creative arts industry to the city and why Galway has remained a place that provides the connective tissue of inspiration between art and artist. Through the eyes of a writer, singer, poet, visual artist, musician, comedian and street theatre director Cumar gives an insight into the fascination and deeply held bonds between place and person, an almost spiritual kinship that the city offers those who seek to nurture their creative talent.
The film ebbs and flows between it’s six narrators, a melodic mixture of Gaeilge, song, music and soothing visuals. To the credit of Ó Coileán the camera lingers when it needs to, drinking in the beauty of Galway and the surrounding landscape. Switching back and forth between the characters gives the narration an almost lyrical quality, like verses of a song. It’s a very serene affair, and everyone involved clearly has an intense love for their city and the life it afforded them during their tenure.
The movie is light on any kind of narrative, though when you break it down, that’s the whole point. Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody is a love letter to a rare place that offers sanctuary to creative people, a city full of promise and steeped in mysticism. The film at various times asks what it is that draws artists there, what it is that offers inspiration for art. There is no real answer to that. The cultural fabric woven around Galway is the product of the journeys of every artist and storyteller and singer and writer who has spent time there. It goes deeper than any one person can explain. It’s a confluence of talent and potential and untapped ability, waiting to be nursed and grown. Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody is another beautiful example of art that is thriving in one of our last magical cities.