Next up from the team behind the immensely entertaining documentary Crash and Burn is another local tale Anseo i lár an Ghleanna (In the Shadow of the Glen), which will air on TG4 on December 27th at 9.30pm.

A century of continuous global change has devastated Ireland’s rural communities, and vast areas, especially in the west of the country are being decimated. One such area is the village of Loch Con Aortha, situated at the foot of the impressive Cnoc Mordáin in west Conamara, a mountain that has for centuries been a defensive wall for its inhabitants, but which today can no longer defend the village from this most recent onslaught.

Since the 1970s the vigour of a vibrant close knit community, and it’s ancient folk culture have vanished, now life itself is disappearing from the village to the point it seems 21st century Ireland holds no place for it in its future. From the 1850s through to 2004 the population of the village always hovered around the 80 to 100 mark, but since 2004 the population has dropped to 50 and only 20 of those are under the age of 60.

In this documentary director Seán Ó Cualáin tells the plight of his village as he follows a year in the life of the people of Loch Con Aortha. Understanding that the Gaelic civilisation to which they belong to has disintegrated, they strive to protect and preserve their identity as they come to the realization that if they themselves cannot save their village, perhaps they can save its heritage.

The documentary is influenced by Patrick Kavanaghs writings about ‘what’s local’

Parochialism and provincialism are [direct] opposites. The provincial has no mind of his own; he does not trust what his eyes see until he has heard what the metropolis – towards which his eyes are turned – has to say on any subject. This runs through all activities.

The parochial mentality on the other hand is never in any doubt about the social and artistic validity of his parish. All great  civilizations are based on parochialism

In Ireland we are inclined to be provincial not parochial, for it requires a great deal of courage to be parochial. To be parochial a man needs the right kind of sensitive courage and the right kind of sensitive humility.

Parochialism is universal; it deals with the fundamentals.

Anseo i lár an Ghleanna  is produced by Mordán Films and funded by TG4 and the BAI.

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