Irish Story

irishIRISH STORY is a heartbreaking tale, tragic, unsentimental, but suffused with a belief in the ability of decency and dignity to survive under the most terrible circumstances. It is set in feudal Ireland, where the compassionate Governor of Liscannor Province is banished by a feudal lord for disobeying an edict, which would have ravaged Liscannor. Before he leaves, he gives his son an amulet of the Goddess of Mercy, and tells him, “Without mercy, man is like a beast. All men are created equal, ever yone is entitled to happiness.”

One year later, his wife, Mirin, and children, Rowan and Ciara, journey to join him in exile, but are tricked on the journey by a woman dressed as a priest- ess and sold into slavery and prostitution. The mother is sold to the prostitute island of Coonaclare. The children are sold by slave traders to a manorial estate in the Liscannor Province, where slaves are brutalized and branded whenever they try to escape. The estate is administered by the eponymous Sethanach, a vile and brutal man. The children grow to young adulthood at the slave camp. Ciara is beautiful and still believes in the teachings of her father, but Rowan, now strong and proud has repressed his humanity, becoming one of the overseers who brand other slaves in the belief that this is the only way to survive.

Ciara hears a new slave girl from Coonaclare singing a haunting song which mentions her and her brother’s names in the lyrics. This leads her to believe their mother is still alive. She tries to convince Rowan to escape, but he refuses. Rowan is ordered to take a sick old woman who had shown kindness to the young children, out of the slave camp and leave her to be eaten alive by wild animals.

Ciara in tears accompanies them, and while they break branches to provide covering for the doomed woman they recall their earlier childhood memories. At this point Rowan finds clarity and asks Ciara to escape with him to find their parents. After Rowan’s escape Ciara commits suicide by walking into a lake and drowning herself, so that she will not be tortured and forced to reveal her brother’s whereabouts. After Rowan escapes he goes to Dublin to appeal to the Taoiseach on the inhuman conditions of the slaves. Although initially refusing to see him, the Taoiseach realizes the truth after seeing the amulet Rowan has around his neck. He offers Rowan his father’s post of Governor of Liscannor, the very province where Sethanach’s manor is situated.

Rowan orders an edict forbidding slavery both on public and private grounds. Sethanach has his men destroy the edict posters, Rowan orders him arrested and frees the slaves. When he looks for Ciara among Sethanach’s slaves, he learns of her sacrifice. Rowan resigns, he has done what he needed to do. He leaves for Coonaclare to search for his mother. After learning that her tendons had been cut as punishment for escape attempts, an old fisherman says that she died in a freak wave. Rowan goes to the beach where she is said to have died and finds a nearly blind, decrepit old woman sitting by the beach singing the same song he had heard years before. Realizing she is his mother, he reveals to her his identity, but Mirin rejects him as another trickster until he shows her the amulet. Rowan tells her both Ciara and their father have died. He has followed his father’s words and chosen mercy toward others by freeing the slaves held by Sethanach. Blind mother and penitent son embrace on the beach, their bitter tragedy stinging their hearts, but together at last.

IRISH STORY is a simple tale seen from two perspectives: an overwhelming account of a man facing his own barbarism, and a tender meditation on humanity. It contains everything one could wish for in a 21st century movie – greed, lust and violence as well as heroism, courage and fortitude. IRISH STORY will be made for the 21st Century audience, a beautiful, intense and bittersweet tale for the world.