Filmmakers Bartle D’Arcy and Jason Ó Fionnáin at the Skellig Monks sculpture in Cahersiveen last summer on the way to film on Skellig Michael.

Film featuring local scenes to be screened later this year

A film whose shooting locations included the Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar, Fore and Lough Lene, and whose director and producer are locals is expected to be screened in cinemas this year. The film is at the post-production stage and negotiations for distribution for Ireland and the UK cinema market are continuing.

‘The Cathach of Fionnán’ is an original, independently produced, action adventure feature film by Jason Ó Fionnáin and Bartle D’Arcy. It tracks an ancient Biblical prophecy, the Michael Axis, awakened by the Covid-19 pandemic, and tells the story of a quest to solve the puzzle in a race against time.

The film was shot on location across Ireland in 2022, including at the cathedral in Mullingar, Fore, Lough Lene and Wineport Lodge on Lough Ree – even a chase scene through Mullingar when the Fleadh Cheoil was on.

Moving through the ages from The Tuatha de Danann, the story continues to ‘The Battle of the Book’, a sixth century dispute between St Fionnán and St Colmcille that is not all it seems.

The battle scenes are brought to life by animator John Corrigan, a native of Fore. The lead actors, Sophia Levie as Niamh and Barry Malone as Joe are students of a Trinity College based medieval history professor played by Bartle D’Arcy, who are drawn into danger and despair by the professor’s off-campus artefact hunting and membership of secret, oath-bound societies.

The Cathach crew filmed with the original sixth century manuscript in the Royal Irish Academy Library, on Skellig Michael and climbed the highest mountain in Ireland, Carrauntoohil, to film a dramatic climax and fulfil the first part of the prophecy.

The film based is the first part in a planned trilogy that visits the Seven Sacred sites of the Michael Axis all the way to the Gates of Hell at Mount Hermon to answer ‘Quis ut Deus?’ in St Michael’s battle with adversary.

“The deeds of St Fionnán have always held a great interest for me because of my surname and also with living in Mullingar,” said director, Jason Ó Fionnáin. “This is a project I always wanted to do and we assembled a fantastic crew of talents to make it happen.

“All the way along the shoot, I could see signs that things were falling into place as the storyline developed, and I can’t wait to finish editing the footage we captured to share with the public.”

Bartle D’Arcy, producer, said that Jason was on Skellig Michael when he contacted him about the project last May, and he was on tour on Devenish Island, “both of which have monastic connections to the story so we decided to proceed”.

“And we did – quickly. In six months we shot more than two hours of footage all over Ireland, weaving together a historical timeline, from Bronze Age times to the modern day, that I hope will enthral the audience and showcase Ireland for the important movie tourism market.”

The Film is a joint production by Fionnán Creative Arts and Mythlands Guiding Light Tours.

Filmmakers Bartle D’Arcy and Jason Ó Fionnáin at the Skellig Monks sculpture in Cahersiveen last summer on the way to film on Skellig Michael.