Saint Nicholas and the Thomastown link on film

A FILM explaining the links between St Nicholas (Santa Claus) and Thomastown will be premiered at the Hole in the Wall, Kilkenny on Sunday as part of the annual Christmas series ‘Kilkenny: In a Time of University’.

A FILM explaining the links between St Nicholas (Santa Claus) and Thomastown will be premiered at the Hole in the Wall, Kilkenny on Sunday as part of the annual Christmas series ‘Kilkenny: In a Time of University’.

Following detailed research on the topic, Dr Michael Conway and Gabriel Murray (Olympia Films, London) have captured the magic of the town land of Thomastown and the historic relationship with the eminent saint.

In collaboration with Joe and Maeve O’Connell of Jerpoint Park, unique images of the church of St Nicholas and of the abandoned village (Jerripont) beside Belmore House explain the history of the early Normans and their saintly relics.

Jerpoint Park is adjacent to Mount Juliet and the Cistercian abbey at Jerpoint and is set to become a key tourist attraction for south Kilkenny. Recent archaeological investigations have unearthed the tombs of the Denn (1623) and Power families. The former, in conjunction with the de Freynes are the Bari (southern Italy) links to the saint while the latter links Jerpoint to the Powers of Kilkenny whose Norman lands were south of the Welsh mountains beyond Tullahought.

Recent genealogical research links the Powers of Tullaghought to Hollywood actor George Clooney. This latest discovery of Powers in the churchyard of St Nicholas presents a link with another Nicholas, i.e. Nicholas Clooney, the ancestor of the American Clooney family whose baptismal certificate is in Windgap church.

The ‘Sunday Night at the Lectures’ event will be the final one in the 2011 series at the Hole in the Wall. So far the lectures have included presentations by Ann Muldowney, Francis Tansey, Don Mescall, Tomm Moore, John Joyce and Michael Jackson. The series is planned as an exploration of the potential of Kilkenny to host American and Continental students at summer school at the Hole in the Wall. Tentative steps in that direction have been taken with the University of California at Berkeley.

The return of movie maker Gabriel Murray from London to his hometown of Kilkenny has acted as a catalyst for film making in the city. The imminent screening of the St Nicholas documentary and the discussions that will follow are hoped to confirm the potential of the city and surrounding areas as ideal movie locations. Entrance to the screening will be free at 8pm.