A scene from the film by Kevin Hughes
“The Reburial of Jackie Brett” is a 17-minute film which has a local cast and will be shown in the Digital Gallery,
Butler Gallery Kilkenny during Heritage Week.
Irish history is littered with events that ripple down through time and even after 100 years they can still resonate now. One of these events is the untimely death of Jackie Brett.
As part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2021 Kevin Hughes has made a drama film recreating a major and tragic event that took place in South Kilkenny in April 1921. A young member of an IRA flying column, Jackie Brett was accidentally shot while hiding out in a safe house, by the teenage son of the owner. Jackie Brett just happened to be a surviving player on the Tipperary team during the All Ireland Bloody Sunday massacre just a year earlier.
His sudden death was to be an event that reverberate through the community and leave a lasting mark on all involved.
After the priest blessed the body it was decided to hastily bury him that night in a local graveyard, which just happened to have a fresh grave already dug. Over the next few days the British army got wind of a shooting and set out to find the
body. They started digging up all the new graves in the area but before they got to Jackie’s resting place, the local IRA decided to remove his body and rebury him in the middle of a field under a crop of turnips.
It is the events surrounding this reburial that Kevin Hughes has centred his drama around and through the film take a snap shot of the tensions that existed within families, within the various members of the IRA and within the larger community.
Tensions which were to become the foundation of what eventually become the next bloody chapter in Irish history - the Civil War.
The film was shot in late July of this year in a field just outside Kilkenny City in an area called Wallslough. The filming took place over three long nights where cast and crew battled against the dawn to get the film shot on time.
A stellar cast of local talent including Brendan Corcoran, Donie Ryan, Derek Dooley, John Rice and introducing the young emerging talent Eoin Ryan. Neil Sheehy played the tragic figure of Jackie Brett.
The crew was also made up of locals including producer Damien Donnelly, and camera assistant Brendan Comerford. Simon Willis recorded location sound. The rest of the crew was made up of local emerging talent.
A major part of this production was finding props and costumes from the period. An old cart was discovered at the back of a shed and provided to the film by the Cope Family from Shankill Castle. Other props were provided by locals involved in reenacting events from the period.
The film was kindly supported by Kilkenny County Council and funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Community Strand of the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2021.
Heritage Week runs until this Sunday (August 22).
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